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Common Law

a system of law based on precedent and customs


a group of people in one place who are ruled by a parent country

Joint Stock Company

investors provide partial ownership in a company organized for profit


a written document granting land and the authority to set up colonial governments


an agreement, or contract, among a group of people


a movement that spread the idea that reason and science could improve society


a king or a queen

Magna Carta

created by nobles who rebelled against King John in 1215; protected their privileges and authority

Glorious Revolution

a peaceful transfer of power that changed government in England

Natural Rights

natural rights to life liberty, and property that no government can take away

English Bill of Rights

document in 1689 that further restricted monarch's power; guaranteed free elections to Parliament, the right to a fair trial, and the elimination of cruel and unusual punishments

Baron de Montesquieu

a French writer who developed the idea about dividing the branches of government into different parts to balance each other so that no one part can become too strong or threaten individual rights

Social Contract

an agreement among people in a society

John Locke

an English writer who proposed natural rights and also created a social contract

House of Burgesses (Who)

created by colonists

House of Burgesses (What)

first representative assembly, or legislature

House of Burgesses (When)


House of Burgesses (Where)

English colonies (Jamestown)

House of Burgesses (Why)

marked the beginning of self-government in colonial America

town meetings

held to address local problems and issues; developed into local town governments

Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

America's first written constitution; called for an assembly of elected representatives from each town to make laws; called for the popular election of a governor and judges

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