Why the United States is a Nation of Elected Representatives

August 24, 2017

The Puritans Elected Representatives to Govern in their American Colonies

The Puritans elected civil officers to govern in their colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut rather than have their rulers rule absolutely or by hereditary succession as often occurred in Europe.  The people’s practice of choosing representatives to govern followed practices in the Bible and the ideas of consent and popular sovereignty, in which the people hold and grant power.

Moses Elects the Council of Seventy Elders by Jacob de Wit, 1737

In elections, some civil officers might be confirmed by covenant or agreement, voted in, selected by draw, or otherwise directly chosen by the people.  Other officers might be appointed by the chosen leaders—and thus indirectly elected by the people.  Both methods are forms of election.

Puritans John Winthrop, Thomas Hooker, and John Cotton cited…

In keeping with these principles, the Puritans chose religious leaders for their churches even before they came to America, and they followed the same practice when electing civil leaders for their commonwealths in America.  The Puritans, like the Israelites, also made a point to elect godly, moral leaders to govern and administer justice.

Later, in the U. S. Constitution, the American Founders continued the practice of electing representatives for the new nation and emphasized the importance of choosing moral representatives.  Such representative government demonstrates the main characteristic of a “republic”—a country governed by elected representatives of its people.

From AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.


Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Activity:  Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 3, Part 2 of 3, Activity 5:  Predicting What the Puritans’ New Colony Might Be Like, p. 119, 344.  MS-HS.

Predicting What the Puritans’ New Colony Might Be Like…

To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

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Published by: The Founding

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