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Beginning in the early 1600's, America received a flood of emigrants seeking religious freedom, an escape from political oppression and economic gains. The emergence of Democracy in colonial America can be attributed to the coming about of several institutions and documents. During this time there were governing bodies, which presided over certain colonies, but no unified system. Many of the laws and freedoms that we possess in America today were established based on the trials and the statutes that were created because of them. The John Peter Zenger trial is a prime example of how a trial established a well-known statute of freedom of the press. The General School Act of 1647 was the origin of modern education laws and the Maryland Toleration Act was the basis for freedom of religion. These, however, were not the first step towards democracy. The Virginia House of Burgesses, the Mayflower Compact, New England town meetings, and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut were all early stepping-stones toward a truly democratic government. The early governing bodies in the colonies such as the House of Burgesses were all based on a written constitution. The Virginia House of Burgesses, established in 1619, was the first representative assembly in Colonial America, and was established with permission from the Virginia Company. The Mayflower Compact was the constitution for the Massachusetts Bay colony. It was written in 1620 while still on the Mayflower by the Puritans aboard to make sure that the non-puritans who sailed with them would not try to take over the colony. The Mayflower had landed farther north than expected so the non-puritans were unsure if the puritans had claim to this new area. In Connecticut, in 1639 the Fundamental Orders were established as the plan of government. New England towns also began to grow larger, and so most of them began to hold town meetings in which local issues could be discussed, which is very similar to our modern local governments. Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut all had very similar governments, each with a constitution, a governor, and a representative assembly, much like the US Government today. Our government also ...

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