Representative Government Origins

Government Origins
Magna Carta
• The idea that government was not all
powerful first appeared in the document
• King John signed it in 1215
• It established the principle of limited
government in which the power of the king,
or government was limited
• The idea of trial by jury
came from this document
English Bill of Rights
• Guaranteed certain basic rights to all citizens
in England (1689)
• It became part of English law that the
American colonists shared.
• It later inspired the people who created the
American Bill of Rights
Great Awakening
• A religious revival that swept through the
colonies between 1720s and 1740s
• Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield
helped spread it
• Encouraged religious freedom
• Religious beliefs contributed to the growth of
representative government
• Colonists were urged to get more involved and
study the Bible themselves
Great Awakening continued
• Emphasized people’s equality in the eyes
of God
• Proclaimed “salvation for all” which
democratized the protestant faith
• Churches welcomed women, African
Americans, and Native Americans
• Inspires colonists to help others
Freedom of the Press
• John Peter Zenger published a newspaper
accusing the governor of New York in
• The governor put Zenger on trial
• Zenger won his case when his lawyer proved
the statements were true
• This led to an important role in the
development of freedom of the press an
important aspect of representative
Public Education
• Puritans passed a law in 1647 that public
schools would be supported by taxes