PENNSYLVANIA'S POLITICAL PROBLEM
THE CHIEF POLITICAL problems faced by Pennsylvania in the colonial period were economic and territorial expansion and assimilation of different ethnic groups of immigrants who poured into the country in ever-increasing numbers. All other issues that assumed importance in the course of time were more or less derivatives of these central problems. The struggle for sufficient paper money reflected the needs of expanding commerce in Pennsylvania. The reluctance to establish new counties and the attempts at gerrymandering, once the counties had to be established, stemmed from the first settlers' fear of losing control of the province and from a distrust of the different ethnic groups that had settled in the back-country, clamoring for political rights. The constant defiance of the Proprietaries was a revolt against the strictures imposed on a free development of the colony by an absentee landlord. The controversial issue of the defense of the province originated from the fact that the realities of an expanding empire had caught up with settlers who had hoped to abandon in the New World the warlike habits of the Old World.
The institution which enabled Pennsylvania to cope with these problems was the powerful unicameral assembly which controlled the budget and had the right to meet by adjournment.