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How were royal colonies governed?

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Quick Answer

The royal colonies were governed by the English monarchy via a royal governor appointed by the monarchy as well as a royal council. The governor and council were assisted by lower councils that they oversaw.

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Full Answer

Many royal colonies did not start out being governed in this way. Instead, they were often proprietary or joint ventures given charters by the English monarchy. However, when these charters either reached their time limit or were revoked by the monarchy, the colonies converted to royal colonies. Colonists were concerned with the instability of how they were governed, as proprietary governors could change or even be deposed by colonists before conversion to royal colonies brought about even more change.

The governor of a royal colony was appointed by the king and carried out the wishes of the king rather than the governor's own wishes. The royal instructions took two forms: a general commission, which, being read aloud when the governor was appointed, was basically public knowledge, and special instructions that were typically only read by the governor himself.

Within the colonies, the governor was the highest judicial authority, encouraged by the monarchy to use his veto powers to advance British interests whenever possible. The governor, his royal council, and other official members of royal colony government were typically selected due to their social and political connections rather than experience or ability ruling others.

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