History essayGot an A on it!A case for the connection of Americas colonial and revolutionaryreligious and political experiences to the basic principles of theConstitution can be readily made. One point in favor of this conclusionis the fact that most Americans at that time had little beside theirexperiences on which to base their political ideas. This is due to thelack of advanced schooling among common Americans at that time. Otherpoints also concur with the main idea and make the theory of theconnection plausible.
Much evidence to support this claim can be found in the wording ofthe Constitution itself. Even the Preamble has an important idea thatarose from the Revolutionary period. The first line of the Preamblestates, We the People of the United States. . . .
This implies that thenew government that was being formed derived its sovereignty from thepeople, which would serve to prevent it from becoming corrupt anddisinterested in the people, as the framers believed Britains governmenthad become. If the Bill of Rights is considered, more supporting ideasbecome evident. The First Amendments guarantee of religious freedomcould have been influenced by the colonial tradition of relative religiousfreedom. This tradition was clear even in the early colonies, likePlymouth, which was formed by Puritan dissenters from England seekingreligious freedom. Roger Williams, the proprietor of Rhode Island,probably made an even larger contribution to this tradition by advocatingand allowing complete religious freedom. William Penn also contributed tothis idea in Pennsylvania, where the Quakers were tolerant of otherdenominations.Order now
In addition to the tradition of religious tolerance in thecolonies, there was a tradition of self-government and popular involvementin government. Nearly every colony had a government with electedrepresentatives in a legislature, which usually made laws largely withoutinterference from Parliament or the king. Jamestown, the earliest of thecolonies, had an assembly, the House of Burgesses, which was elected bythe property owners of the colony. Maryland developed a system ofgovernment much like Britains, with a representative assembly, the Houseof Delegates, and the governor sharing power. The Puritan colony inMassachusetts originally had a government similar to a corporate board ofdirectors with the first eight stockholders, called freemen holdingpower.
Later, the definition of freemen grew to include all malecitizens, and the people were given a strong voice in their owngovernment. This tradition of religious and political autonomy continued intothe revolutionary period. In 1765, the colonists convened the Stamp ActCongress, which formed partly because the colonists believed that thegovernment was interfering too greatly with the colonies right toself-government. Nine colonies were represented in this assembly. TheSons of Liberty also protested what they perceived to be excessiveinterference in local affairs by Parliament, terrorizing British officialsin charge of selling the hated stamps.
Events like these served tostrengthen the tradition of self-government that had become so deeplyembedded in American society. The from of government specified by the Constitution seems to be acontinuation of this tradition. First, the Constitution specifies afederal system of government, which gives each individual state the rightto a government. Second, it specifies that each state shall berepresented in both houses of Congress.
The lower house, the House ofRepresentative, furthermore, is to be directly elected by the people. Ifthe Bill of Rights is considered, the religious aspect of the traditionbecomes apparent. The First Amendment states, Congress may make no lawrespecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercisethereof. . .
, showing that, unlike the British government, the new USgovernment had no intention of naming or supporting a state church orsuppressing any religious denominations. In conclusion, the Constitutions basic principles are directlyrelated to the long tradition of self-rule and religious tolerance incolonial and revolutionary America.