1. ) American society wasn’t that democratic during the colonial days. Although it was much more democratic than England, it still wasn’t quite there yet. The constitution wasn’t signed and agreed upon until 1787, and before the turn of the 18th century, the colonies were a big mess. Most cities had an oligarchy, meaning a religious leader was in charge, making everyone abide by their rules, although it was often less religious and more on the tyrannical side. There wasn’t much separation of church and state.
The only people who could vote were members of the church in most colonies, although some colonies allowed white men who owned property to have the right of franchise. People were hung, flogged, and exiled. Indentured servants had it bad, and were accused of the littlest things. African American slaves were sold as property and had no rights. Women were confined to the house of their husband and were essentially treated as property as well. The beginning of New Netherland, of what was to soon become New York, the Dutch established a patroon system, in which feudal-like rights were given to the few wealthy and powerful landholders.
In Virginia, the colonial assembly shared power with a royally appointed governor. Locally, the power was invested in county courts, which were self-appointed. Rhode Island began with an egalitarian constitution, which provided for majority rule in civility. In Massachusetts Bay colony, only members of the church were allowed to vote, but later on, landholders were given the right of franchise. New England was governed by the Dominion of New England for a short period of time, where governor Edmund Andros caused anger among the population.
A group of Bostonians captured Andros and the Dominion of New England was dissolved and colonial charters were given back. The middle colonies had a large degree of political diversity. In south Carolina, the proprietary government was evoked, but collapsed, selling all the colonies to the British crown. More towards the end of the 18th century, there were three distinct forms of government: Provincial, proprietary, and charter, although they were all subordinate to the feudal system of Great Britain and the monarch.
The provincial colonies, consisting of most of the southern colonies and some middle colonies, had a governor and council, and an assembly which were appointed by landowners of the province. The proprietary colonies were the majority of the middle colonies. These were colonies in which the land grants were given to a few people by the monarch and gave them the general powers of government, these colonies were subject to the control of the monarch and the governor and legislature were organized by the proprietaries. The charter colonies were all of New England.
In which representatives were given control of the land and powers of the legislative government. The powers were divided between the legislative, executive, and judicial functions. Colonial American society was becoming less equal in the sense that the only real participants were a handful of rich aristocrats. And although being the smaller percentage of the population, they still ran the governments. The difference in the social ladder was divided between the Aristocratic and rich, and the slaves, servants, and Indians.
The higher class was determined to create a large division between the two “populations”. 2. ) Some of the causes of the great awakening were the decline in church membership. The Half-way covenant was started because of this. The worldliness of people; the rise of sectarianism following immigration of Quakers, Lutherans, Presbyterians; the Doctrine of Arminianism: opposition to the idea of predestination, emphasis on freedom of will, belief in good works as a means of salvation; and the rise of skepticism all led to the Great Awakening.
George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards led the Great Awakening, reviving the feeling of God throughout the colonies and a sense of emotion into preaching instead of the dull sermons of the elder ministers. After the Great Awakening which began in the 1730’s, the belief that man was equal was quickly wide-spread. It spread Christianity to African-Americans and had a major part in reshaping the Congregational Church and Presbyterian Church. It also strengthened the small Baptist and Methodist congregations. It created a sense of democracy and also a political impact on the soon-to-occur American Revolution.