Massachusetts Government Act

Massachusetts Government Act

The Massachusetts Government Act [1] was passed by the Parliament of Great Britain and became a law on May 20, 1774. The act is one of the Intolerable Acts (also Repressive Acts and/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 abrogated the colony's charter and provided for a greater amount of royal control. Massachusetts had been unique among the colonies in its ability to elect members of its executive council. This act took away that right and instead gave the king sole power to appoint and dismiss the council. Additionally, many civil offices that had previously been chosen by election were now to be appointed by the royal governor. Town meetings were forbidden without consent of the governor, except for one regularly scheduled annual meeting. As Lord North explained to Parliament, the purpose of the act was "to take the executive power from the hands of the democratic part of government".[2]

Patriot leaders in Massachusetts responded to the act by creating the Massachusetts Provincial Congress in October 1774, which acted as an independent government in the early stages of the American Revolution.

See also


  1. ^ 14 Geo. III c. 45
  2. ^ Ian R. Christie and Benjamin W. Labaree, Empire or Independence, 1760–1776 (New York: Norton, 1976), 188.

External links

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