The government of the colonies matched exactly that of England, the country they left for a better life. So why did they leave England? Does anyone think that the colonization had a much deeper purpose and agenda? Knowing what we know today can anyone see the underlying agenda for all these hundreds of years?
Colonial Governments of the Original 13 Colonies
The United States of America started out as 13 original colonies. These colonies belonged to the British Empire and were founded during the 17th and 18th centuries.
By the 1700s, the British government controlled its colonies under mercantilism, a system that regulated the balance of trade in favor of Britain. Over time, colonists became frustrated with this unfair economic system and with Britain's administration of taxation of the colonies without any accompanying representation in Britain.
The governments of the colonies were formed in different manners and with various structures. Each colony was set up in a way such that by the mid-1700s, they had a strong capacity for self-government and held local elections. Some early colonial governments foreshadowed elements that would be found in the U.S. government after independence. Virginia Virginia was the first permanently settled English colony, with the 1607 founding of Jamestown. The Virginia Company, a joint stock company which had been given the charter by King James I to found the colony, set up a General Assembly.
In 1624, Virginia became a royal colony when James I revoked the charter of the bankrupt Virginia Company. After Virginia organized a representative assembly, James felt threatened and had plans to disband it, but his death in 1625 ended his plans and the General Assembly remained in place. This helped to set a model and precedent for representative government in the other colonies. Massachusetts Massachusetts Bay Colony was created in 1629 by a charter from King Charles I, and the first settlers arrived in 1630. While the Massachusetts Bay Company was intended to transfer the colonial wealth to Britain, the settlers themselves transferred the charter to Massachusetts, turning a commercial venture into a political one. John Winthrop became the governor of the colony. However, according to the charter, the freemen, who included any of the charter's shareholders, could have drawn up a council, but Winthrop initially tried to keep that secret from them.
In 1634, the General Court ruled that the settlers must create a representative legislative body. This would be divided into two houses, much like the legislative branch later established in the U.S. Constitution.