Representative Government


US History European Colonization Representative Government
Students learn about early examples of democratic and representative governments in the colonies: the House of Burgesses, the Mayflower Compact, and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about early examples of democratic and representative governments in the colonies: the House of Burgesses, the Mayflower Compact, and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut.

Objectives:

  • Explain how Virginia began a tradition of representative government.
  • Identify the significance of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the Mayflower Compact, and the Fundamental Order of Connecticut.


The United States bears the imprint of the British colonists in many different ways: the English language, Protestantism as the dominant religion, and a tradition of government based on the values of liberty, equality, and a new form of justice. In this experience, you will define a representative government and learn about some early examples in the British colonies.

Objectives:

  • Explain how Virginia began a tradition of representative government.
  • Identify the significance of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the Mayflower Compact, and the Fundamental Order of Connecticut.


Have you ever belonged to an organization that was run by a group of people who are elected by the members? Name one or more types of organizations where the members vote for a group of people to make decisions.

Post your answer

Students may post organizations like the school’s student council, after-school clubs, youth groups, or volunteer organizations.

You could ask them to briefly discuss why a group of elected leaders is preferable to having an appointed leader. For example:

  • Since elected leaders are chosen by the organization, they are more likely to do what’s best for the group.
  • It would be impossible for an entire group to “lead” and make every decision, but a group of elected leaders can represent the larger organization.
  • Electing leaders means that everyone gets a say in decisions.


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