The colonies had little occasion to feel or to resent direct royal prerogative.
In some of the middle colonies the towns and counties were both active and had a relation with each other which was the forerunner of the present system of local government in the Western States.
The participation of the people in their own government was the more significant, because the colonies actually had what England only seemed to have, - three departments of government.
In appearance the labor system of all the colonies was the same.
The Stuart sovereigns of England steadily attempted to strengthen their power, and the resistance to that effort caused an immense growth of Parliamentary influence.
In government as well as in trade a new era came to the colonies in 1763.
The old charters of Massachusetts, Virginia, and the Carolinas had given title to strips of territory extending from the Atlantic westward to the Pacific.
In any event, colonization and the grant of lands were provincial matters.
From William of Orange to William Pitt the younger there was but one man without whom English history must have taken a different turn, and that was William Pitt the elder.
Each colony became accustomed to planting new settlements and to claiming new boundaries.
England and France were rivals, not only on the continent, but in the West Indies, in India, and in Europe.
In comparison with other men of their time, the Americans were distinguished by the possession of new political and social ideas, which were destined to be the foundation of the American commonwealth.
One of the strongest and most persistent elements in national development has been that inheritance of political traditions and usages which the new settlers brought with them.
The residence of the Plymouth settlers in the Netherlands, and the later conquest of the Dutch colonies, had brought the Americans into contact with the singularly wise and free institutions of the Dutch.
Besides paid white laborers, there was everywhere a class of white servants bound without wages for a term of years, and a more miserable class of Negro slaves.
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