The three forms of colonial government in 1776 were provincial, proprietary, and charter. These governments were all subordinate to the king in London, with no explicit relationship with the British Parliament. Beginning late in the 17th century, the administration of all British colonies was overseen by the Board of Trade in London. It is interesting to learn how these three forms of colonial governments, controling the 13 seperate colonies each with its own culture and interests eventually collapsed and declared independence. We study how the citizens of the north, central and south colonial Capitals of Boston, Philadelphia and Williamsburg developed out of their unique beginings to eventually unite under a common cause to create a single great Nation.  

Boston - Charter Colony

Massachusetts has a long political history; earlier political structures included the Mayflower Compact of 1620, the separate Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies, and the combined colonial Province of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Constitution was ratified in 1780 while the Revolutionary War was in progress, four years after the Articles of Confederation was drafted, and eight years before the present United States Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788. Drafted by John Adams, the Massachusetts Constitution is currently the oldest functioning written constitution in continuous effect in the world.

 

Philadelphia - Proprietary Colony

In 1682, William Penn founded the city to serve as capital of Pennsylvania Colony. By the 1750s, Philadelphia had surpassed Boston to become the largest city and busiest port in British America, and second in the British Empire, behind London. During the American Revolution, Philadelphia played an instrumental role as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States. In 1774 the First Continental Congress passed their Declaration and Resolves, which claimed that American colonists were equal to all other British citizens, protested against taxation without representation, and stated that Britain could not tax the colonists since they were not represented in Parliament. The diverse Founding Fathers came together to eventually signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787. Philadelphia was one of the nation's capitals during the Revolutionary War, and the city served as the temporary U.S. capital while Washington, D.C., was under construction.

Williamsburg - Provincial Colony

From 1619 to 1776, the legislature of Virginia was the House of Burgesses, which governed in conjunction with a colonial governor. Jamestown remained the capital of the Virginia colony until 1699; from 1699 until its disolution the capital was in Williamsburg. The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first legislative assembly of elected representatives in North America. After almost 150 years of self rule, in May 1765, Patrick Henry presented a series of resolves that became known as the Virginia Resolves, denouncing the Stamp Act and denying the authority of the British parliament to tax the colonies, since they were not represented by elected members of parliament. In 1769 the Virginia House of Burgesses passed several resolutions condemning Britain's stationing troops in Boston following the Massachusetts Circular Letter of the previous year; these resolutions stated that only Virginia's governor and legislature could tax its citizens. The members also drafted a formal letter to the King, completing it just before the legislature was dissolved by Virginia's royal governor. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Payton Randolf and Patrick Henry are just a few of the famous Americans that served in the Virginia House of Burgesses in Williamsburg.

 

 Chairman Emeritus IATM

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Scott, Thank you so much for making this such a memorable & fantastic adventure. You are such an  inspirational person. Hope to see you in the future!
With Love, Kristen W

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