The participation of the people in their own government was the more significant, because the colonies actually had what England only seemed to have, – three departments of government.
The residence of the Plymouth settlers in the Netherlands, and the later conquest of the Dutch colonies, had brought the Americans into contact with the singularly wise and free institutions of the Dutch.
The Stuart sovereigns of England steadily attempted to strengthen their power, and the resistance to that effort caused an immense growth of Parliamentary influence.
In each colony in 1750 were to be found two sets of governing organizations, – the local and the general.
Everywhere among the English-speaking race criminal justice was rude, and punishments were barbarous; but the tendency was to do away with special privileges and legal exemptions.
The growth of constitutional government, as we now understand it, was promoted by the establishment of two different sets of machinery for making laws and carrying on government.
On March 10, 1764, preliminary resolutions passed the House of Commons looking towards the Stamp Act.
Many attempts had been made by colonial legislatures to cut off or to tax the importation of slaves.