The Middle Colonies, now Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, were originally proprietary colonies governed by landowners or others by grant from England, the Netherlands or France. At other times, they were royal provinces of England under the rule of an appointed governor.
Colonial assemblies elected by the citizens who owned property shared in the governing powers at the direction of the governor, establishing taxes and government budgets. Colonial constitutions forbade taxation without representation and guaranteed freedom of religion. Conflict developed between the assemblies and the governors appointed by the monarch. On more than one occasion governors were arrested or overthrown. As unrest grew, the Middle Colonies became a center of revolution and the meeting place for the first Continental Congress in 1774.