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Democratic government in the United States had its beginnings during the colonial period The Mayflower Compact House of Burgesses New England Town Meetings Fundamental Orders of Connecticut and the Zenger trial each was an important step in the development of our democracy For example The Mayflower Compact was an agreement among the Pilgrims of Plymouth to establish a body and to obey the rules of the governors they chose The House of Burgesses was the Virginian parliament Other colonies had such legislative bodies too The Burgesses were mainly colonists who preferred democracy to monarchy They were often in conflict with the British government and the governors The British government didnt accept the House of Burgesses as a legal institution Each event had contributed to the development of democracy differently Ten years before the Puritans landed near Boston in 1630 the Pilgrims had landed on Cape Cod Because they were far north of their sponsoring companys jurisdiction they agreed to the Mayflower Compact a temporary set of principles about how they would govern themselves until a charter arrived It never did The Mayflower Compact is one of the first statements of rights and obligations made by a group of New World European migrants It was also an effective answer to a few settlers who thought they could place their own aims above the community English landowners had insisted on meeting with their leaders for consultation in local matters ever since the Magna Carta was signed in 1215 Virginia settlers expected that same right The House of Burgesses was modeled after the English Parliament and established in 1619 Members would meet at least once a year with their royal governor to decide local laws and determine local taxation They continued to meet on a yearly basis to decide local matters The tradition established by the House of Burgesses was extremely important to colonial development Each new English colony demanded its own legislature in turn Since 1619
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