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Colonial State Land Surveying

Early maps of the Americas were crude, overly simplistic, and frequently wrong. As settlers pushed farther and farther inland, they destroyed the accurate maps that guided their paths. Successes and failures depended on aptitude and the ability to observe what was going on around them. If the maps were accurate, then settlers had reason to believe they were gaining control of their budding colonies.

At the same time, however, European knowledge of the physical world was expanding dramatically. As the settlers lost the ability to rely on the maps, they relied on more external maps, most likely the physical world itself. Early surveys by European explorers projected a world with great accuracy. However, as civilization moved offshore, such accuracy was lost. Grants and surveys were made to better understand the geography of the land. These surveys are known as colonies.

Even while using crude surveys, the colonists began to stretch boundaries farther and farther. Boundaries were first drawn by the light of a candle, or the sun. As the candle grew ever farther from the light source, the expedition grew in size and the time frame lengthened.

In fact, the first US colony was laid out stuffed to accommodate the newly arrived Irish.

In terms of area, the word colony is quite appropriate. After all, New York is only forty miles from Philadelphia and thirty miles from New England, all within a single day’s travel time. Reading a globe allows one to see that the globe represents a certain amount of real estate. Remove that angle and you have a country.

Boundary lines were at first simply drawn by the weight of the land underneath. As more and more settlers arrived, the original concept of a country began to change. Planning began to include streets, rivers, lakes, borders, and even international borders.

In colonial times, most settlers were governed by a governor and an assembly. The governor was appointed by the assembly and generally led the colony’s daily operations. The governor was usually a well-to-do landowner and the head of a major newspaper. The assembly consisted of 200 men who elected their president and chancellor.

The president was the head of another organization, the general assembly, which took care of all matters relating to the colony’s organized affairs. Other than the governor and the president, there was only one other member of the colonial government.

The fiscal governor was appointed by the colonial government and took care, among other things, of the colony’s budget and the tax rates. The fiscal governor was a customs officer with no political duties.

In 1663 a triennial survey was held for determining the extent of Maryland’s boundary. According to the survey, the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland was 100 miles long. The Pennsylvania colonists won. The decision was conclusive. Both Pennsylvania and Maryland formed the Pennsylvania States.

Maryland was henceforth called Pennsylvania Proper. It retained its copy of the Pennsylvania certificate of annexation, a document that still forms part of official Pennsylvania stated.

The commonwealth of Pennsylvania was not yet a state of the Union. In order to acquire statehood, Benjamin Franklin, the president of Pennsylvania, signed a bill incorporating three New England states – Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine – into the new commonwealth.

Acts of Assembly

On June 12, 1776, the delegates assembled at Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention. The purpose of the convention was to discuss the outline of a Constitution for the new nation and to put it into effective operation.

Among the agenda items was a bill to incorporate three new states – New Jersey, New York, and Virginia – into the confederacy. These states thus were admitted to the Union as fourth, fifth, and sixth states. New Jersey was also granted independence on June 12, 1776.

George Washington was elected president of the convention, which met from Philadelphia to deliberate on the wording of the Constitution.

Jenna Watson, curator of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives at Philadelphia, says that while the framed Constitution had been put into operation, it was still only a rough draft.

While agreeing on the needs of the nation, the convention also fought over the best way to guard against tyranny and for the Regularity of Government.

Eventually, it was decided that a federal system of the alternating rule would be best. With a strong federal government, each state would have fewer powers and would rely on the federal government for defense and financial supervision.

Alexander Hamilton of New York, a Federalist, believed that the economic distress and the desire for government largess would result if the new government stepped out of the print.

To protect their commerce from the new government, the British Hancock Companies decided to move overseas markets in the U.S.

The companies signed charter agreements with licensure as a top priority.

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