Fundamental Orders of Connecticut



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Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
In 1639, Connecticut settlers became the first colonists to codify their law into what is usually described as the first written constitution in American history, carrying the principles of social compact and popular representation directly into the American constitutional experience. Formally written constitutions are important sources of rules in politics and are a fundamental part of the political system(s) in operation in the United States (e.g., federal, republican, constitutional, presidential, two party, etc.). By telling the government what it can do (i.e. by limiting its powers to only those that are expressly enumerated or delegated), as well as what it can’t do by denying it certain powers, and by asserting/ declaring/defining what the basic and fundamental rights of the citizens being governed are that can’t be abridged, deprived, or infringed upon (i.e. by delineating where the rights of the people begin and where the power of the government end), the power(s) of the government can be effectively limited. In addition, the structural and organization framework established by such authoritative documents formalize and institutionalize both the organization and operation of the related governmental levels and/or departments as well as the legal relations between the people (roles, duties, rights, privileges, franchises, immunities, etc.) and their government. With this principle of constitutionalism in mind, read the Fundamental orders of Connecticut and complete the following document analysis exercise.

Like rules in any game, rules governing the political game specify:


The point of the game (i.e. purposes and functions of government)
Who can participate (play) in the game
How the outcome of the game will be determined
What roles the participants will play
Powers (what they can do)
Responsibilities (what they should do)
Limitations (what they can’t do)
What’s necessary in order to change the rules
Who the referees will be
A.) According to the rules established under the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, what were the necessary criteria for:

Participation in politics

Convening or adjourning the General Court

Conducting business in the General Court

B.) According to the rules established under the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, how was the

outcome for the election/selection determined for
Deputies:


Magistrates:


Governors:

C.) According to the rules established under the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, (a.) what was the

proper role (powers, responsibilities, limitations) of the General Court (est. 1637 when the new river

towns of Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford formed a “colony”)? (b.) What were the proper roles

(powers, responsibilities, limitations) of Deputies, Magistrates, Governor, who served in the

General Court?


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