When colonial America began to develop, known as the “new world”, a new government began to emerge, as politics did as well. Governorship was filled by appointees in exception of Rhode Island and Connecticut in the New England colonies, whose governors were elected. The governors were chief representatives of Britain, so they were responsible for enforcing “British Trade Laws.” Also, as chief executives, governors had to execute colonial laws (new laws developed for the colonization), administer justice, and appoint administrative and judicial officers. As commanders in chief, they were responsible for defending their province and diplomatic relations with Indians, as well as other colonies. Their advisory councils provided approval for most executive actions. A few colonies acted as the superior court.

Religion and politics were based on certain principles called the “New England Way.” The political part of these principles limited the religious freedom of the people. They did not believe in unlimited government because “if man is conceived in original sin, how can he be trusted to exercise unlimited power over others?”
The colonies began to change after 1720. Budgets and taxes were low and up until 1730, governmental forms became more like Britain’s. They became more settled and levels of political socialization and consciousness arose. Institutional and leadership structures became more sharply expressed and civil disorders became rare.

New England: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire

Within the New England Colonies, small towns were the centers of local the government. An important governmental event occurred in 1643, when Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven formed the New England Confederation to provide defense against the Indians, Dutch, and French. It had been their first attempt to form a union between colonies. Later on, in 1675, a group of Massasoit Indians organized themselves under King Philip to fight the colonies, which formed what we know as Kind Philip’s War. It went on until 1678 and the Indians suffered a great loss.

Middle Colonies: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware
Zenger's lawyer stands up for freedom of the press.
Zenger's lawyer stands up for freedom of the press.

An important event of the government in the Middle Colonies is what was known as the Zenger Trial in 1735. John Peter Zenger was arrested for writing against the royal governor of New York. He was defended by a man named Andrew Hamilton. Zenger was found “not guilty” for helping to create the idea of freedom of the press.

Southern Colonies: Virginia, North/South Carolina, Georgia

In 1675, Bacon’s Rebellion took place. Nathaniel Bacon led a group of Virginia colonists against some Indians who were attacking frontier farms. Sir William Berkeley, the royal governor, had not made a move against the Indians. He labeled Bacon a traitor and ordered that he be arrested. Bacon attacked Jamestown and seized the government. After Bacon died from dysentery (a disorder which inflames the lower internal organs) in October, 1676, Berkeley returned and hanged many rebels. King Charles II eventually removed him from office.
Nathaniel Bacon was born on January 2nd, 1647
Nathaniel Bacon was born on January 2nd, 1647


“Colonial American Government and Politics.” 2012. The History Channel website. Feb 10 2012, 8:02 http://www.history.com/topics/colonial-government-and-politics

"File:Sir Nathaniel Bacon by Sir Nathaniel Bacon.jpg." . Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 10 Feb 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sir_Nathaniel_Bacon_by_Sir_Nathaniel_Bacon.jpg.

Kelly, Martin. "Overview of Colonial America 1607-1754." . N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb 2012. http://americanhistory.about.com/od/colonialamerica/a/colamoverview.htm.

. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb 2012. <http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/bookmarks/zenger/zengertr.jpg>.