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The Constitution

Uploaded by Admin on Dec 12, 1999

A case for the connection of America’s colonial and revolutionary religious and political experiences to the basic principles of the Constitution can be readily made. One point in favor of this conclusion is the fact that most Americans at that time had little beside their experiences on which to base their political ideas. This is due to the lack of advanced schooling among common Americans at that time. Other points also concur with the main idea and make the theory of the connection plausible. Much evidence to support this claim can be found in the wording of the Constitution itself. Even the Preamble has an important idea that arose from the Revolutionary period. The first line of the Preamble states, We the People of the United States... ." This implies that the new government that was being formed derived its sovereignty from the people, which would serve to prevent it from becoming corrupt and disinterested in the people, as the framers believed Britain’s government had become. If the Bill of Rights is considered, more supporting ideas become evident. The First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom could have been influenced by the colonial tradition of relative religious freedom. This tradition was clear even in the early colonies, like Plymouth, which was formed by Puritan dissenters from England seeking religious freedom. Roger Williams, the proprietor of Rhode Island, probably made an even larger contribution to this tradition by advocating and allowing complete religious freedom. William Penn also contributed to this idea in Pennsylvania, where the Quakers were tolerant of other denominations. In addition to the tradition of religious tolerance in the colonies, there was a tradition of self-government and popular involvement in government. Nearly every colony had a government with elected representatives in a legislature, which usually made laws largely without interference from Parliament or the king. Jamestown, the earliest of the colonies, had an assembly, the House of Burgesses, which was elected by the property owners of the colony. Maryland developed a system of government much like Britain’s, with a representative assembly, the House of Delegates, and the governor sharing power. The Puritan colony in Massachusetts originally had a government similar to a corporate board of directors with the first eight stockholders, called freemen" holding power. Later, the definition of freemen" grew to...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   12/12/1999

Category:   American History

Length:   3 pages (638 words)

Views:   1380

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