Divisiveness in American Culture

Photo by Max Okhrimenko on Unsplash

Governance

In royal colonies, governors were appointed by the Crown to represent its interests. Before 1689, governors were the dominant political figures in the colonies. They possessed royal authority transmitted through their commissions and instructions. Among their powers was the right to summon and dissolve the elected assembly. Governors could also veto any bill proposed by the colonial legislature.

Divisiveness Within the Councils

The executive branch included an advisory council to the governor that varied in size ranging from ten to thirty members. In royal colonies, the Crown appointed a mix of placemen (paid officeholders in the government) and members of the upper class within colonial society. Members served at the pleasure of the King. When there was an absentee governor or an interval between governors, the council ran the government.

Divisiveness Within the Assemblies

The lower house of a colonial legislature was a representative assembly. Members were elected annually by the propertied citizens of the towns or counties. Usually they met for a single, short session; but the council or governor could call a special session when needed.

Reunification and Resolve

In May 1776, the Continental Congress called for the creation of new governments “where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs have been hitherto established” and “that the exercise of every kind of authority under the … Crown should be totally suppressed”. The Declaration of Independence in July further encouraged the states to form new governments, and most states had adopted new constitutions by the end of 1776. By tradition and the political protocol of that era, the revolt against King George III should never have taken place. We can speculate that the other colonies under English rule in the 18th Century, including Canada, Australia, and India, were not divided in their belief in the covenant so they never reached the tipping point at which they withdrew their consent to be governed by the Crown. And that is the hidden value we can find in the divisiveness that still agitates Americans.

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J J Zavada

J J Zavada

Global Village Observer: I journal the disruption of socio-economic systems caused by our transition from the Industrial Park to the Global Village .