Pennsylvania colony: Formation of government



The charter granted by Charles II. to William Penn for the government of Pennsylvania was very liberal in its provisions, but not sufficiently so to meet the enlarged views of the proprietor, who at the outstart promised his colonists that they should be a free people and be governed by laws of their own making. In 1682 he published his "frame of government," which was to be submitted to the people of the province for approval. In 1683 this was amended, in the second Assembly of the province, and a charter of liberties granted which made Pennsylvania almost fully a representative democracy. The right of appointment of judicial and executive officers, which was reserved by the proprietors of the other colonies, was surrendered by William Penn to the people, and the government consisted of the proprietor and the Assembly, with no intermediate council, as in Maryland and elsewhere. Yet, liberal as this constitution was, the people soon demanded further concessions and privileges, and Penn, in his last visit to his province, granted a new charter, still more liberal, and conferring greater powers upon the people, who from this time forward possessed a very full measure of political liberty.





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