Fundamental Orders adopted in Connecticut
In Hartford, Connecticut, the first constitution in the American colonies, the “Fundamental Orders,” is adopted by representatives of the towns of Wethersfield, Windsor, and Hartford.
The Dutch discovered the Connecticut River in 1614, but English Puritans, under a grant from the Massachusetts General Court, largely accomplished European settlement of the region as they flocked to the Connecticut valley from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Ownership of the land was called into dispute by the English holders of the Warwick Patent of 1631. The Massachusetts General Court established the March Commission to mediate the dispute, and named Roger Ludlow, a lawyer as its head. The Commission named 8 magistrates from the Connecticut towns to implement a legal system. The March commission expired in March 1636 after which time the settlers continued to self-govern.
On May 29, 1638 Ludlow wrote to Massachusetts Governor Winthrop that the colonists wanted to “unite ourselves to walk and lie peaceably and lovingly together.” and in 1638 representatives from the three major Puritan settlements in Connecticut met to set up a unified government for the new colony.
Roger Ludlow wrote much of the Fundamental Orders, and presented a binding and compact frame of government that put the welfare of the community above that of individuals. It was also the first written constitution in the world to declare the modern idea that “the foundation of authority is in the free consent of the people.” In 1662, the Charter of Connecticut superseded the Fundamental Orders; though the majority of the original document’s laws and statutes remained in force until 1818.
The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, despite its short length, contains some key principles that were later applied in creating the United States government. These include the idea that Government is based in the rights of an individual, and the orders spell out some of those rights, as well as how they are ensured by the government. It provides that all free men share in electing their magistrates, and uses secret, paper ballots. It states the powers of the government, and some limits within which that power is exercised.
Today, the individual rights in the Orders, with others added over the years, are still included as a “Declaration of Rights” in the first article of the current Connecticut Constitution, adopted in 1965
In celebration of the first step on the path to America and the Constitution, I give you Deputy Dave’s Drink of the Day: Freedom Shot
1/2 oz CuttySark Scotch whisky
1/2 Jameson® Irish whiskey
1/2 Bacardi® 151 rum
1 oz Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee whiskey Sour Mash
Mix in small tin, and use wire strainer. serve in Shot Glass
All people doing the Shot must Scream “FREEDOM” before ingesting the shot.0
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