Massachusetts Government Act2018-01-13T19:49:23+00:00
Portrait of Thomas Gage.

Thomas Gage was the Governor of Massachusetts in 1774.

Massachusetts Government Act External Links

May 20, 1774

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Massachusetts Government Act

Transcript of the Massachusetts Government Act

Massachusetts Government Act

The Massachusetts Government Act effectively abrogated the colony's charter and provided for an unprecedented amount of royal control. Severe limits were placed on the powers of town meetings, the essential ingredient of American self-government. Further, most elective offices in the colony were to be filled with royal appointees, not with popularly elected officials.

Massachusetts Government Act

Massachusetts Government Act of 20 May 1767 was one of the Coercive Acts (see also Intolerable Acts) passed by Parliament in response to the Boston Tea Party. The act was draconian in nature, and its justification lay in the sweeping claim to sovereignty codified by the Declaratory Act of 1767. The Massachusetts Government Act effectively ended nearly a century and a half of virtual democracy in the Bay Colony. The Massachusetts charter was suspended, and the upper house of the legislature was henceforth to be appointed by the governor, loyalist Thomas Hutchinson. Judges and sheriffs were also to be appointed, and all officials were to be paid by the crown, not by the democratically elected and decidedly Whig lower house of the Assembly. Town meetings were severely circumscribed as to when they could meet and what they could do.

Massachusetts Government Act

This Act was one of the Coercive Acts passed in the wake of the Boston Tea Party. It specified that the elected Assembly was to be replaced by a Mandamus council nominated by the Governor (General Gage), to sit at Marblehead. Further, the Governor was given the power to appoint/dismiss all law officers. There were to be no Town Meetings without royal assent, and there was to be no election of juries by the freeholders.

Massachusetts Government Act

The Massachusetts Government Act, passed by Britain's Parliament and becoming law on 20 May 1774 is one of the measures (variously called the Intolerable Acts, the Punitive Acts or the Coercive Acts) that were designed to secure Britain's jurisdiction over her American dominions.

Massachusetts Government Act

The Massachusetts Government Act (citation 14 Geo. III c. 45) was passed by the Parliament of Great Britain and became a law on May 20, 1774. The act is one of the Intolerable Acts or the Repressive Acts, or the Coercive Acts, designed to suppress dissent and restore order in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. In the wake of the Boston Tea Party, Parliament launched a legislative offensive against Massachusetts to control its errant behavior. British officials realized part of their inability to control the colony was rooted in the highly independent nature of local government there.

The Massachusetts Government Act

When Massachusetts was first chartered, a council of inhabitants was formed, the 28 members of which were to be chosen annually by the people of the colony. This bit of democratic representation was unique among the many colonies, and it was a right the people took seriously and enjoyed, given the level of patronage and corruption evident when such councilors were appointed. However, the level of independence the council eventually felt at liberty to exercise was not to the liking of the colonial power, especially as the people in America began to exert muscle on trade and political issue. The Massachusetts Government Act was passed, on May 20, 1774, to reign in this independence.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Massachusetts Government Act External Links
  • Coverage May 20, 1774
  • Author
  • Keywords massachusetts government act
  • Website Name American History Central
  • URL
  • Access Date June 27, 2019
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update January 13, 2018

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