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2. Hollanders and Swedes-New York was settled originally by people from Holland, and Delaware by Swedes. But later both of these colonies were seized by the English, and numbers of English settlers followed. Thus the whole Atlantic shore between Acadia and Florida was English.
3. Colonies of England–The land occupied by a settlement, or by a closely united group of settlements, was called a "colony. The English made thirteen of these colonies along the sea-coast, the settlers as time passed on gradually pushing farther and farther inland. There were, in fact, more than thirteen at one time or another, but several were united at different times, so that in the end there were only thirteen. Each colony had a government quite separate from that of the others. It was this fact which distinguished the colonies one from another, and it was the fact of a common government which united several settlements into a single colony.
In the last years of the English dominion in what is now the eastern part of the United States, the thirteen colonies were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
4. Colonies of France--The French had lost their colonies. Their settlements included Acadia, Newfoundland, Canada, and Louisiana, the last consisting of all the land between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. They claimed, too, all the land between the Mississippi and the Alleghanies, counting it sometimes as dart of Louisiana and sometimes as part of Canada. The main French settlements were
at Quebec, Montreal, and New Orleans. They also had stations at Detroit, at Mackinac Island, at several points in the present States of Indiana and Illinois, and at various other places. But in a long series of wars between France and England the French were repeatedly defeated, and were finally compelled to give up all these colonies. Newfoundland, Acadia, Canada, and the land east of the Mississippi were yielded to England. Louisiana (comprising New Orleans and the land from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains) was ceded to Spain, to compensate that country for its losses in fighting as an ally of France. Florida, including not merely the State of that name but also the southern part of the States of Alabama and Mississippi, was given to England by Spain in exchange for Cuba, which the English had captured. The last treaty involving these great cessions of territory was made in 1763.
5. Government of the English Colonies The thirteen English settled colonies were all governed in very much the same way. Each of them elected by a popular vote a legislature, which was empowered to make laws for the colony. The legislature might make any laws which were not contrary to the laws of England. In nearly all the colonies there were a governor and a number of judges for the law courts, appointed by the English king. In Connecticut and Rhode Island the people elected the governor and he appointed the judges. In Pennsylvania and Maryland the governor and judges were appointed by the English “proprietor,” for these two colonies were the property of certain English families to which the king had given the land before it was settled.
6. Extent of the English Colonies-- The territory which the colonies covered, or which they claimed to cover, was in many cases considerably more extensive than is that of the present States of the same names. Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland claimed no more land as colonies than they now have as States. But the present State of Maine was a part of the colony of Massachusetts. The present State of Vermont was claimed by New Hampshire and New York. Besides this, the colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia claimed that their western boundary was the Mississippi River.
The original English settlers obtained their legal title to the land from the king. The mainland of North America was discovered in 1497 by Cabot, an English voyager, who sailed along the coast from Labrador to some point near Florida. On the ground of this discovery England claimed to own the continent between the northernmost and the southernmost limits of Cabot’s voyage, and as far west as the land extended-i.e., to the Pacific. By existing English custom land so claimed was part of the royal domain, and hence directly controlled by the king and not by parliament. Accordingly, when companies were formed to effect settlement, it was from the king that they obtained a grant of the soil and of jurisdiction over it.
These grants of the king-“charters" they are usually called-in many cases defined the territory conveyed as extending clear across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. That was the case with the char
ters of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia. In 1763, however, the treaty by which France yielded to England all French claims in America east of the Mississippi contained also a stipulation whereby England in turn renounced her claim to any of the soil west of that river. The effect of this of course was to cut off the western extent of the colonies above noted at the great river.
It should also be observed that when the king gave New York to his brother, the Duke of York, in 1664, and Pennsylvania to William Penn, in 1681, he merely rescinded the Massachusetts and Connecticut grants of his predecessors so far as the land of the two former colonies was concerned. Ilowever, the two New England colonies continued to claim title to the land within the limits of their original grants west of Pennsylvania.
7. Independence of the Colonies-In 1775 the thirteen original English colonies, becoming dissatisfied with the government at London, and failing to obtain the concessions which they demanded, took up arms, and a long civil war followed. The colonies sent delegates to a Congress at Philadelphia for the management of their common concerns, and in 1776 this Congress declared the independence of the colonies, under the name of the United States of America.” From this time the Americans dropped the term “colony,” the word “state” being substituted. The thirteen States in 1781 adopted a constitution for their common government, this document being called “Articles of Confederation.” Two years later the war came to an end, Great Britain recognizing the independence of the United States. Thus the Ameri
can Republic became a nation, with a government of its own.
8. The Constitution, The Articles of Confederation proved very unsatisfactory. In order to form a better government a convention met at Philadelphia in 1787, the members being appointed by the legislatures of the various States, and agreed on a new plan, which they called the “Constitution of the United States.” This plan the States accepted, and in 1789 the government under this Constitution began its work.
9. Old States and New States—The States which adopted the Constitution were the thirteen which had united under the Articles of Confederation, which had declared their independence of Great Britain in 1776, and which had originally been British colonies. But one provision of the Constitution gave to the Congress power to admit new States into the Union.* This power Congress has exercised repeatedly, until now (1899) there are forty-five States, the old thirteen and thirty-two new ones.
THE WESTERN TERRITORY OF THE REPUBLIC
10. The West—Nearly all of these thirty-two new States at one time formed part of the territory which belonged to the Union as the property, not of the several States, but of the republic. That from which Illinois has been formed, however, was part of the western land which, before the War of Independence, was claimed by several of the colonies.
* U. S. Const., Art. IV., S 3.