American Government Essay, Research Paper
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America as we know it includes a vast network of representative governments. During
the colonial period of early America, Virginia was the first to introduce a representative
assembly. This first glimpse of democracy influenced the shape of America today. It
eventually caused the colonies to drift away from monarchial England, and to establish
a democratic government. Ironically, from this government, slavery and racism
In an attempt to make Virginia a more pleasant place to live, the governor was
instructed to create an assembly with the power to make laws. The assembly included
two members from each plantation to serve as burgesses, or representatives.
Convening in 1619 it became the first colonial, representative body (p.13). This was a
significant step in the formation of America. A group of men representing the residents
of a particular land would make laws that were meant for them. This was democracy at
its earliest stage in America.
Everywhere one goes today in America, there is democracy. Whether a church council,
school club or the state general assembly, a representative group is always present.
Democracy shapes America. One could view the first democratic group responsible for
today’s freedom. This was the assembly formed by George Yeardly (p.13). Perhaps, if
the Virginia Company had not instructed the governor to establish an assembly, the
idea of democracy might not have instilled into the minds of the colonists. Surely,
without this first appearance, it is questionable that an idea suppressed for centuries
under the English monarchy would surface anywhere else. Moreover, it led the way for
other settlements to adopt a similar code.
Another way the representative body shaped America was slavery. Most
representatives approved slavery and practiced it. The early burgesses of the Virginian
assembly received land as their pay wages (p.14). They needed people to work their
newly acquired lands. Therefore, indentured servants were common on their
plantations. The whole idea of indentured servants and their later inadequacy
eventually led to the flood of black slaves to America. Because these representatives
owned servants and slaves themselves, slavery was easily passed into law. It has a
huge impact on the racial tension in America today. Because of the representative
government approved slavery, it existed in America.
Virginia’s first representative body helped form present America because it set an
example of democracy for other colonies and broke from the common practice of
lordship and monarchy. It eventually caused the colonies to drift away from monarchial
England. If not for this first, the shape of America today would look much different.