How Did The Massachusetts Government Act Change The Way Massachusetts Was Governed?

Do you know how did the Massachusetts Government Act of 1774 change the way Massachusetts was governed before?

Ok, here I will explain the answer to this question.

Answer In Short:

Under The Rules of This Act, The Governance System of The Massachusetts Province Transferred To The Hands of Royally Appointed Governor.

The Act Provided Royal Governor Wide-Ranging Powers That He Could Intervent & Dissolve Local Provincial Assembly of The Province.

Before This Act, The People of Massachusetts Enjoyed Special Political Privilege Under The Massachusetts Charter of 1691.

Because of This Charter, The Nature of The Colony’s Governance System Was Quite An Independent Type Compared To The Other 12 Colonies.

But Once The Act Came Into Effect (From July 1st, 1774), The Charter Got Completely Abrogated.

How Massachusetts Government Act Changed Governance
How The Massachusetts Government Act Changed Governance

Description – How The Act Changed Everything On Governance System?

Actually, before the Parliament of Great Britain passed the act, Massachusetts had the power in electing the members of its own executive council.

Massachusetts had been enjoying this election power under the Massachusetts Charter since the year 1691.

The charter provided its locals the ability to effectively participate in its governance.

But after the act got royal assent in 1774 on 20th May; it completely took away all the powers from them.

The Massachusetts Government Act transferred this power to the king of Great Britain and royally appointed Governor.

From now, the king had the ability to appoint a royal Governor with so much power.

And Governor had the ability to appoint civil officers and other important positions for the governance of the province.

Even using that power, the royally appointed Governor could dissolve the provincial assembly. That type of incident happened in the same year’s October month.

In the year 1774 October month, Governor Thomas Gage dismissed the provincial assembly without any big reason.

Fact: To Enforce This Act In A Much Powerful Way, The British Parliament Made Their Military General As The New Governor of The Province. 

How Did The Massachusetts Government Act Change The Way Massachusetts Was Governed

What Was The Reason For The British Parliament Doing This?

The Massachusetts Government Act of 1774 was one of those five Coercive Acts.

The people of the 13 colonies named them ‘Intolerable Acts‘.

All these five were passed by the parliament of Great Britain to punish American colonists for the Boston Tea Party.

Especially, the five acts were highly punitive to the people of Massachusetts.

Let me tell you that Boston was a part of Massachusetts province and during the time, it became the main center of growing unrest of the 13 colonies.

In other words, it was the center of the starting of the American Revolution.

Britain feared that if the unrest would get spare to the other parts of the 13 colonies, it would become difficult for them to calm it down again.

Therefore, the British authority wanted to contain the unrest within the land segment of Boston.

And as an easy way to control the city, they brought the Massachusetts Government Act in 1774.

Leveraging the power of this law, they captured the whole administrative power of the province, in their own hands.


Did They Succeed Through Massachusetts Government Act?

No, in long run, the British didn’t succeed.

Contrary, it provoked the colonists to be more rebellious.

Finally, as a result, they united in the First Continental Congress and it began the revolutionary war of America’s full independence.

However, in the year 1778, the English Parliament repealed this act as an attempt to attract patriots to the table for a diplomatic end of the Revolutionary War.

But, it was too late by now, because on July 4th, 1776, the 13 colonies already declared independence from Great Britain.

On the other hand, from 1778 France also directly involved in the revolutionary war.

France’s involvement almost certain the victory of the colonists.

Therefore, they didn’t show much interest in a diplomatic talk with Britain, even though they repealed the Coercive Act the same year.


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