In New England colonial assemblies enjoyed an considerable power. Plymouth had set up a popular assembly consisting of all qualified freemen, which then evolved into a bicameral body as the colony incorporated out-settlements. In Massachusetts Bay, Governor John Winthrop and his supporters attempted to concentrate legislative authority in the Court of Assistants, limiting the General Court to the activities of a court of election.
Colonial assemblies were the first official forms of the popular representation founded in the American colonies prior to the Revolutionary War. According to Northern State University, they provided the initial taste the colonies had for self-government and served as the forerunners for future representational bodies that emerged during and after the Revolution..
According to Northern State University, the colonial assembly was the lowest in a three-part structure of government. The highest level was the royal governor, followed by a Governor's Council, an entity that advised the governor and helped in some administrative duties. The assemblies, on the other hand, were elected by the people and served as advocates for their interests before royal authorities.