Annotated Timeline


Magna Carta


Barons were able to put limits on the king and the colonists believed they could do it again. It was the first time royal authority officially became subject to the law, instead of reigning above it

Virginia Colony


Southern Colony

Virginia House of Burgesses


The first legislative assembly in colonial America of elected representatives, the Virginia House of Burgesses was created in an effort to make colony conditions more agreeable for its inhabitants.

Mayflower Compact


The first governing document of the Plymouth colony, the Mayflower compact created a government which function would under the consent of the majority. It was signed aboard ship by the Pilgrims who were fleeing religious persecution in Britain.

New York Colony


Middle Colony

New Hampshire Colony


New England Colony

Massachusetts Colony


New England Colony

Maryland Colony


Southern Colony

Rhode Island Colony


New England Colony

Connecticut Colony


New England Colony

North Carolina Colony


Southern Colony

South Carolina Colony


Southern Colony

New Jersey Colony


Middle Colony

Deleware Colony


Middle Colony

Bacon's Rebellion


An armed rebellion led by Nathaniel Bacon against Governor William Berkeley in response to the lack of security and defense provided by British troops

Maryland Act of Tolerance

April 21st, 1676

A law mandating religious toleration for colonists.

Pennsylvania Colony


Middle Colony

Age of Enlightenment

Approx. 1685 - Approx. 1815

Ideas such as consent of the governed, balance of power, and majority rule came from this era.

English Bill of Rights


The Bill creates separation of powers, limits the powers of the king and queen, enhances the democratic election and bolsters freedom of speech.

Salutary Neglect

Approx. 1690 - Approx. 1760

A long-standing British Policy in the 13 colonies which allowed the colonists to violate the laws associated with trade.

Great Awakening

Approx. 1730 - Approx. 1760

A period marked by the formation of new religious doctrines, movements, and denominations. The Great Awakening pulled people away from ritual and ceremony and towards spiritual and personal guilt and redemption. In New England, people began questioning the authority of Christian authority in England.

Georgia Colony


Southern Colony

French and Indian War

1754 - 1763

Also known as the Seven Year’s War, this was a war between colonies of North America and those of France, with each side supported by their respective mother countries.

Sugar Act


A tax on luxury items such as molasses, wine, and silk

Quartering Act


This act required colonists to house British troops

Townshend Act


A series of acts passes starting in 1767 that increased taxes and led to widespread American protest

Tea Act


Granted the right of duty-free export of tea from Britain to North American colonies

Intolerable Acts


The patriots’ term for a set of punitive laws passed by Britain in response to the Boston Tea Party

1st Continental Convention

September 5th, 1774 - October 19th, 1774

A meeting of delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies formed in response to the passing of the Coercive or Intolerable Acts. Delegates considered organizing an economic boycott against the British monarch

2nd Continental Convention

March, 1775 - May, 1775

Another convention of delegates from the thirteen colonies, in which topics of discussion included raising arming, strategizing, and appointing diplomats

Battle of Lexington and Concord

April 19th 1775

A kick-off of the American Revolution in which the colonial “ragtag” army defeated the redcoats and boosted colonials’ confidence in the war to come

Battle of Saratoga

September 19th, 1777 - October 7th, 1777

The Battle of Saratoga was a major turning point in the American Revolution in October of 1777. The success at Saratoga also gave France the confidence to join the war as America’s ally.

Virginia Plan

May 29th, 1778

A proposal by Virginia delegates that advocated a bicameral legislature elected based on state population sizes. The Virginia plan additionally promoted separation of federal government into three primary branches: the executive, the judiciary, and the legislative.

Articles of Confederation

1781 - 1789

The Articles of Confederation established the first governmental structure unifying the thirteen states that had fought in the American Revolution. When they failed, they were replaced by the Constitution

Battle of Yorktown

September 28th, 1781 - October 19th, 1781

General George Washington begins a siege against British General Lord Charles and in 1781, Washington completely surrounds Cornwallis in Yorktown, forcing him to surrender and thus end the Revolutionary War

New Jersey Plan

June 15, 1787

A proposal that advocated one legislative body in which each state was equally represented regardless of population size

3/5th Compromise

July 12th, 1787

A compromise reached between northern and southern states that defined slaves as 3/5ths a citizen. This compromise assured that slaveholders in the south would gain a fair amount of representation in the House of Representatives

Connecticut Compromise

July 16th, 1787

An agreement between large and small states that defined a bicameral legislative branch, in which one branch was elected based off respective state populations, and the other was elected regardless of state populations

Constitution Ratified

June 21st, 1788

The United States constitution was ratified. The federalists, who were proponents of the ratification of the constitution, agreed to add amendments (through the Bill of Rights) to guarantee the preservation of the basic rights of citizens