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Pennsylvania, the Beginning of Freedom



Pennsylvania, the Beginning of Freedom
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.62

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    goodwill, dated, merchandise, effective, jury, ratify, shortly, newly, meaning, region, opposite, being, accept, beginning, defend, among
     content words:    Native Americans, Iroquois Confederacy, Henry Hudson, Delaware Bay, William Penn, New Jersey, Indian War, In Pennsylvania, First Continental Congress, Second Continental Congress


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Pennsylvania, the Beginning of Freedom
By Maggie Parke
  

1     Before being discovered by Europeans, Pennsylvania was inhabited by groups of Native Americans. The Native Americans lived very simple lives. Several tribes known to live in Pennsylvania were the Delawares, the Susquehannocks, the Shawnees, and the Iroquois Confederacy which included the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onodagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. It is unclear who the first European was to discover Pennsylvania, but it is suspected that a gentleman by the name of Henry Hudson explored the Delaware Bay area and claimed it for the Dutch. It wasn't until 1681 that William Penn acquired the charter giving him ownership of the land between New Jersey and Maryland, which he named Pennsylvania (meaning Penn's woods).
 
2     Once William Penn became Proprietor of Pennsylvania, he prepared a contract that he called "the Frame of Government" that guaranteed religious freedom, protection of property, and trial by jury. Within this Frame of Government, a code of laws was also created. In 1701, Penn created the Charter of Privileges that replaced the Frame of Government. It was the colony's constitution until 1776.
 
3     The British and French both wanted control of western Pennsylvania. This struggle led to the French and Indian War (dated 1754-1763), which ended with the British in control of the region. Once the British had control, they became strict in their trade regulations and added taxes. Many colonists were dissatisfied with this. In Pennsylvania, this led to a split among the people. Some were for the British; some against. It was suggested to have a conference involving several colonies, which became the First Continental Congress. This was intended to restore goodwill between the colonies and England. Unfortunately, it seemed to do the exact opposite. The Congress rejected the plan of union and instead, denounced the British policy and began to boycott British merchandise. The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia the following year. Just before they were to begin, a fight broke out between the colonists and the British troops in Massachusetts. This was the beginning of the American Revolution. Pennsylvania troops took part in almost all of the battles of the Revolution.

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