Fundamental Orders Of Connecticut Essay, Research Paper
Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
The British North American colonies were on the cutting edge of governmental systems in
their time. They developed confederations and other styles of ruling that greatly differed from the
iron fist of the absolutist monarch of Britain. Among these colonies, Connecticut was the
forerunner. Among three major towns, Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield, Connecticut formed
what is today known as a federalist government. Within Connecticut?s federalism, the ideas of
many modern governing techniques were applied, such as a written constitution and popular
sovereignty. Because of this, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut was a blueprint for the
modern day Constitution because it contained a central government linked to local governments,
three separate branches of government, and a representative government unlike the one of Britain.
The modern day federalism that is applied today is structured like that of the Connecticut
federalism. A general court in Hartford acts like a central meeting place like that of present day
Washington D.C.. This General court has the ability to rule over the towns of Connecticut, but the
locals of a town may provide input to their public officer and he can provide the central court with
this information. The general court is not to be mistaken as an absolute rule. An example is found
in section 11 of the Fundamental Orders. The general court may distribute funding to the towns,
and they may distribute them as they please. If this was a dictatorship, the general court would tell
the local governments how to distribute their funds.
The Fundamental Orders established three branches of government like that of the modern
day federalism. In section 1 of the Fundamental Orders, an executive office as well as a judicial
branch is elected. The person with the most votes becomes the governor, and the next six runners
up would hold positions as magistrates in the general court. The representative branch is
established in section two where it is stated that the next runners up to the magistrates shall be the
public officers to the people of their town. These three branches of government are exactly the
same in present day, but how they are elected and appointed to their position is the only difference.
The idea and structure of the representative government is the most evident similarity
between the U.S. Constitution and the Fundamental Orders. Unlike that of the British method of
virtual representation, the Fundamental Orders established a system of representation which had a
representative for each town. The idea of democracy in the U.S. is that of sovereignty resting with
the people. This new type of representation did just that. Each towns person had the opportunity
to submit their opinion on political and economical matters to their public officer. This officer
could then represent the people based on their opinions and try to push for rulings on laws in their
favor. This was truly ahead of it?s time.
The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut laid the foundation for the modern day U.S.
Constitution with the ideas of a central government linked to local governments, three branches of
government and a representative government different than that of Britain. For something made in
1638, this was a marvel of political and governmental systems. It is the centerpiece for an almost
perfect democracy. It?s basic ideas are still being applied to this day and will for days to
Fundamental Orders of Connecticut