Democracyin British Colonies
TheBritish travelled many miles to form colonies in other territoriesfar from their motherland. The colonialist went to the colonies fordifferent reasons such as adventuring, seeking new opportunities,religion freedom, and expansion of their territories or to gainindependent from the king of England. They left their motherland whenthere was a conflict in integrating religion to the state. Some ofthe colonialists had dissected their country to escape religiousprosecution by the Puritans who did not to practice any religioustolerance. The British remained loyal to the crown while they were incolonies and they paid their taxes to the king despite minimumsupervision from their motherland. The English colonial masterspractice democracy in their colonial territories as they imposedtheir rule on the natives.
Thecolonies were treated distinctive and autonomous from theirmotherland and in each colony there was a self-government that wasindependent. The colonialist developed political and economicinstitutions that were similar to the ones in Europe or a single onefor America that were guided by the natural resources in the region,soil conditions, and climate helped to shape the region economicdevelopment.
Colonieswere ruled using democratic means in America since there was freedomof the press. The free press was gained through the actions of PeterZenger, who was charged with libel, but he set the precedence for thefreedom of the press. Zenger was a German nationalist who hadimmigrated to the US. He was a journalist who published a dailycalled New Yolk Weekly Journal. He used the press as the only weaponto fight a corrupt government and accused Governor William Cosby ofrigging the elections and collaborating with the French enemies inthe New Yolk Harbour. Zenger was arrested and arraigned in court,and the judge found him not guilty of the libel. The ruling led tothe establishment of the First Amendment, which guaranteed thefreedom of the press in the colonies in 1733. After this case, thenewspapers started reporting in a new way that was different in thecolonies compared to England (Stobaugh, 2012).
Thecolonialist gave the right to freedom of worship since some have lefttheir motherland due to religion conflict and intolerance in Britain.Roger Williams, a Puritan minister, challenged the combination of thechurch and the state, and he was banished from the Massachusetts. Hewent to Rhode Island and permitted the freedom of worship foreveryone including the Quakers and Jews. William Penn promotedfreedom of worship, and he offered refuges for the deserters fromEngland, who was facing persecution in Pennsylvania. The freedom ofworship was protected in the constitution in 1662.
Thecolonialist practised democracy since there was an electedlegislature in all the colonies. Any mater regarding the law, thecitizens were gathered in the town halls meeting to discuss theissues that could affect them. The citizen had their representativesin the legislature who they had elected through a popular vote, andthey were involved in law decision making. The people’s voices wereconsidered before an issue was made to a law.
Thesigning of the Mayflower Compact agreement was a sign the people cangovern themselves through democracy. The agreement was signed betweenthe saints and stranger. Mayflower Compact was a deal that enabledthe colonist to govern themselves without anyone imposing what theother should do. The agreement was passed for the purpose of justiceand equal law practices for the good of the colonies. Theself-governance noting in the American colonies enabled people toelect their governor, enact the laws that suit them best and had theability to admit others to become part of the legislature. TheMayflower Compact set a precedence for a democratic government thatderives its power from that the people in the colonies (Williams,1985).
Thecolonies economy was on the shipbuilding industries that offered ajob for many people who lived around. The colonist practicedsmall-scale farming and a produced food for the local people, andthey started trading of the agricultural produce and the industryproducts. Major cities such as the New Yolk and Philadelphia startedto grow as the seaport and later developed to big commercial centres.
Themiddle colonies society was based on the freedom of religion. Thesociety lived in harmony, and the missionaries among the colonistpreached Christianity in the colonies. Different religious groupssettled in different places in the America such as the Quakers livedin Pennsylvania, Jews and the Huguenots lived in New Yolk, and thePresbyterians settled in New Jersey. The colonialist believed in asociety with religious tolerances. The social structures in thecolonies were flexible and around people to interact freely. Thecolonialist began to train and develop a middle class of skilledsmall-scale farmers, entrepreneurs and artisans.
Thecolonies in the southern economy depended on cash crop farming ofcrops such as rice tobacco purposely for export to Europe. Plantationfarming for this cash crop was done mainly in the eastern costallowland. The economy of the Southern in the inland was based on thesmall scale farming, trading and hunting.
Thesocial structure in the South was based on the family status and thesize of the one owned. The people who owned the big trucks in theeastern coast lowland dominated the society and the colonialgovernment, and it maintained close ties with the Church of Englandthan the other colonies. The British colonialist had travelledtogether with indentured servants who worked in the plantationwithout being forced. The fast growth of plantations in the easterncoast lowland in the southern colonies needed cheap labour. Theindentured servants who comprised the poor people from Englandprovided cheap labour for the in the plantation, especially inVirginia.
Undemocraticacts by the colonialists
Theneed for cheap labour in the plantations and industries created aneed to use slaves as workers. Importation of slave from Africa wasaccepted, and they were not considered as human being. Slaves werefirst introduced to work in the tobacco plantation of the Southeconomy in 1793. Slave provided free labour in the cotton plantationsand gins during the colonial era. Some of the African slave whoarrived earlier worked as indentured servants and later earned theirfreedom for the British colonial masters but most remained as slaves.
Theindentured servitude was undemocratic practise by the colonialist.The British used the Indentured Servitude as a labour system in thenew world where they worked for a given number of years to pay forhis or her passage from England to North America British colonies.The Indentured servants were owned by their employers for a certainperiod to work for him to pay off his debts.
Someof the colonies had close ties with the Church of England and theirhome government that used unpleasant mode of governance. The factthat they have sworn to be loyal to the king made them exercise badgovernance in their colonies that did not conform to the definitionof democracy. The colonial existence and practise are undemocratic innature since it created an unequal distribution of resources. Thecolonisation practice in America favoured the whites and the richcreating the gap between the poor and the rich to increase. Thelandowner formed the political ruling class, and the poor worked forthem either as an indentured servant or as a slave. The landownersused their political power to take the land from the poor people.Slaves and the indentured servant lived as squatters without a placeto stay. They were settled in settlements schemes a very unsuitableplace for the life of the human being. They were treated as lesserbeing a situation that lowered their dignity as human (Davis, 2006).
Theuse of forced labour act is undemocratic since everyone has a rightfor compensation to any service rendered by him. The colonial mastersviolated human rights in undemocratic ways by passing policies andlegislation that made Native American citizen loss their land,religious identity. Britain used more than 5000 black slaves to fightin during the revolutionary war. The British violated their right ofthe blacks by forcing them to fight on their side against their wish.Many died in the war and their family suffered.
Davis,D. B. (2006). Inhuman bondage: The rise and fall of slavery in theNew World. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Stobaugh,J. P. (2012). American History: Observations & Assessments fromearly settlement to today.
Williams,G. M. (1985). Freedomand influence: The role of religion in American society : an NSAperspective.Santa Monica, Calif: World Tribune Pr.