1/24/12
Video Projects
You and a partner will choose one of the following videos to write a script for. The rest of the class will help you act the video out, but your group is responsible for coming up with a script. The script must be historically accurate - use research from this page and other research to get your facts. However, you may "dramatize" the script for entertainment purposes. Videos need to be ready to post on your blogs and this wiki page by the end of the week, 1/27/12

Video: The Bicameral Legislature in Boston
The town deputies and court assistants get into an argument about a pig. The result is a bicameral legislature.

Video: Anne Bradstreet
What were Anne Bradstreet's beliefs? Why did she get in trouble for them? What eventually happened to Anne Bradstreet as a result of this controversy?

Video: The Pilgrims on the Mayflower
The Pilgrims were originally headed for Virginia. Blown off course to the north, they realize they are far from where they are supposed to be. They decide what to do about this.

1/23/12

The Place Called New England

By the middle of the seventeenth century, there were five colonies in New England – Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Haven. Each had its unique traits, but all had much in common. They had all been founded by Puritans of one sort or another. Puritanism was not just a religion. It was a way of life.

How the New Englanders Lived

The way of life in Puritan New England was in many ways very different from that in Virginia. The Puritans’ way of life helped them survive and then to prosper.

First of all, the Puritan settlers moved in groups and built towns while the Virginians did not. The Puritans stayed together not by force of military rule, but by force of the covenants they made with God and with each other.

Building towns helped the New Englanders. Towns were easier to defend than the lonely farms and plantations started by the Virginians. The Puritans could work together to build houses and clear land. They were able to help each other in times of trouble.

New Englanders shared more than work. They shared their material wealth too. The Puritans taught that God made people wealthy, and so they should do good for others.

The Puritans even had laws enforcing fair prices – that is – prices that allowed people to buy what they needed without giving the seller too much profit. They had laws against charging high interest on loans because they did not think a lender should profit from a neighbor’s need. Such laws became harder to enforce as time went on. In the beginning, however, they encouraged people to help one another much ore than was done in Virginia. That helped New England survive its first, most difficult days.

Farming, Fishing, and Trading

New England quickly began to thrive. There was no labor problem in New England like that in Virginia. Puritans were eager to work. They believed God wanted them to work at the callings God gave them.

What did most Puritans do? They were, first and foremost, farmers. They had no one cash crop that they could sell in England like Virginia’s tobacco. However, New Englanders could at least feed themselves.
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The Puritans also tried hard to start some manufacturing but without much success. Manufacturing means making finished products from raw materials, such as lumber or iron. It generally made more sense for the Puritans to import manufactured goods, that is, to buy them from other countries. They could not make such goods as cheaply as they could import them because workers’ wages were very high in the colonies.

The New Englanders needed something they could export, or sell overseas, to pay for their imports. At first, they had furs to sell, and then the fishing industry grew.

The New Englanders found they could sell fish and farm produce in the West Indies. They could also sell slaves there that they picked up in Africa. In return, they bought sugar and molasses, which they made into rum either to drink or to trade elsewhere. The point of these complicated exchanges was to allow the New Englanders to buy manufactured goods in England.

The Triangular Trade

For many years, historians called the major trade routes of New England merchants the Triangular Trade. They meant that the pattern the trade routes made on a map looked like a triangle. One side of the triangle was a line showing rum going form New England to Africa. The second side of the triangle showed slaves going from Africa to the West Indies. The triangle was completed by a line showing molasses and sugar going from the West Indies to New England.
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Merchants became an important part of life in New England, and Boston rapidly became the largest port in English America. Commerce, or large-scale trade, thrived. So did agriculture and fishing. In fact, the New Englanders managed to create a fairly diversified economy.

Population Growth

New England grew not only in wealth but also in numbers. Its population went up first by immigration. Then it grew by natural increase – by births in New England. That happened because the Puritans came to North America in communities that included women and children. Two of every five of the original immigrants to New England were females. That made marriage and children possible.

Early New England women married young and often lived through their childbearing years. As a result, New England families were large. Families often had six or eight children. By 1643, around 20,000 immigrants had come to New England. By 1700, its population had grown to 90,000. By contrast, during the 1600’s about 60,000 went to Virginia. Yet in 1700, its population was still at about 60,000.

New England was a healthy place. In the 1600’s New Englanders often lived into their 60’s and even their 70’s. That was about 10 years longer than people lived in England and 20 years longer than in Virginia. People lived so long in fact, that New England can be said to have “invented” grandparents. Nowhere else in the English world were children so likely to know their parents’ parents.

New England’s quick growth caused some problems. People settled first around town centers. Then they divided up land farther out. In time, some New England towns grew so large that many families had a long way to come for church services or town meetings. As a result, many towns split up. Each had its own town center and church. Some new towns were built when groups of young people moved to land on the frontier, land along the edge of a settled area.

Patterns of Power

The Crown did not have much power in early New England or much say about the colonies’ day to day affairs. Both the Virginia and New England colonies had central governments with representative assemblies. In both places, however, real power was at the local level, in the county courts of Virginia and the towns of New England. By the 1650’s, local government was becoming an American way of government.



1/19/12

Three More Colonies
Three new colonies quickly grew from Massachusetts. They were established for different reasons. The colony of Rhode Island was begun by people banished from Massachusetts Bay. Puritans who felt cramped in Massachusetts Bay started one colony in Connecticut. Others who wanted a stricter form of Puritan rule began a colony at New Haven.

Rhode Island
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The Puritans of early Massachusetts had come to America to found a colony of like-minded people. They did not believe that they had to welcome everyone to their colony. They did not have to keep people who disagreed with them on important matters. If people did, they could leave. If they refused, the colony’s government might force them out.

Roger Williams: Roger Williams disagreed with the Puritans. He was an educated man who had studied at Cambridge University in England. He also held many ideas that were unacceptable to the Puritans of Massachusetts.

Williams first aired his views in Plymouth. There he argued that the land still belonged to the Indians. The Plymouth people did not want to hear that. Williams was asked to leave Plymouth.

Next Williams went to Boston. There he took up another cause. No government, he said, should interfere with the practice of religion. All who lived in the Bay Colony were required to attend Puritan services. Williams did not think that was right.

The Puritan leaders considered Williams’ views dangerous. Despite their warnings, Williams refused to be quiet. So the leaders decided that he would have to leave.

Officials intended to send him back to England, but Williams slipped away to Naragansett Bay. There, with his family and followers, he established the town of Providence, in what became Rhode Island Colony in 1636. It was the only New England colony where all religions, including Judaism, were allowed to exist side by side.

Anne Hutchinson: Anne Hutchinson was another difficult Puritan. She claimed that God spoke to his saints directly. The Puritan leaders taught that God spoke to people through their Bible, their ministers, and their public officials. The idea that God spoke to individuals directly was not only wrong, but also dangerous, since such people would obey what they said God told them, not the laws of church and state.
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Hutchinson first expressed her ideas before small groups of women. Then men started attending her meetings. For all practical purposes, Hutchinson was acting like a minister. Women were not supposed to lead meetings. For a woman to step out of her place in the social order and to act like a man was shocking and dangerous.

In November 1637, the General Court banished Anne Hutchinson from the colony. She was allowed to stay through the winter because she was expecting a child. Hutchinson and her family made their way to Rhode Island the next spring. There she helped establish the town of Portsmouth.

The New Colony: Even though the Rhode Islanders were tolerant of different religions, they had trouble getting along with each other. So groups broke away and founded new towns. By about 1645, there were four towns: Providence, Portsmouth, Newport, and Warwick. Together they included about 200 families.

In 1644 Roger Williams secured permission from England for the towns to form a union and rule themselves. But power in Rhode Island, even more than in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, stayed in the towns. Only the towns had the right to propose laws. The towns also had to approve every new law before it went into effect.

Connecticut and New Haven

While some members of the Bay Colony went south to Rhode Island, others left for the rich lands of the Connecticut River Valley. One of the first groups to settle in the Connecticut Colony moved from Massachusetts Bay in 1636 with their minister, Thomas Hooker. Many other groups followed.

The Connecticut Colony: At first, the Connecticut settlements were governed as part of Massachusetts Bay. In 1639, three towns – Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield – agreed to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a covenant that set up a central government for the young colony. Again, power remained with the people of the towns.
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The New Haven Colony: The Fundamental Orders did not cover all the settlements that would eventually be part of Connecticut Colony. Farther south was New Haven, a community founded in 1637 by a group of very strict English Puritans. They thought Massachusetts Bay was too permissive.

Before long, New Haven also grew a series of new towns – Milford, Guilford, Stamford, Fairfield, Medford, Greenwich, and Branford. In 1643, they came together to form New Haven Co

1/17/12

Massachusetts Bay Part 2
Town Covenants
The people moving away from Boston and Plymouth did not just scatter. In Virginia, settlers started individual farms or plantations along the rivers that emptied into Chesapeake Bay. In New England, settlers moved in groups and established towns. Each of those towns was a closely knit community in its early years.

Settlers often formally bound themselves together under town covenants that were much like the covenants that church members made.

Those town covenants might say how many families the town would accept, how its lands would be divided, or how disputes would be settled. They always made clear that the settlers had come together to perform God’s will and that they intended the towns to be made up of Christians living in peace with one another.

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The founders of New England did not intend their towns to be short-term affairs. They did not expect, like the first Virginians did, to make a quick fortune in North America and then return to England. The Puritans were building for the future.



Government for a Colony of Towns

The colony’s charter defined its first government. At its head was the governor and a set of officials who served as his advisers. They were called the Court of Assistants. The governor and assistants ruled the colony alone for its first year.

The charter also allowed for a general court, which was a meeting of all the company’s shareholders with the governor and Court of Assistants. As the colony grew and as people spread out in towns across Massachusetts, the colony’s government had to change.

Representative Government: In 1631, the General Court made some important decisions. It ruled that only members of covenanted churches could become freemen of Massachusetts, that is, voting members of its government. However, not all the freemen could meet together in the General Court. There were just too many of them.

So, in 1634, the General Court was changed again. Instead of all the freemen meeting together, the freemen elected two representatives or deputies, for each town in Massachusetts. In that way, the General Court became a representative assembly, similar to the House of Burgesses in Virginia. Today the legislature of Massachusetts is still called the General Court.

A Two House Legislature: In the 1630’s, about 20 deputies from the towns met in the General Court with the assistants and the governor. Then, in 1644, the assistants and deputies got into a heated battle over who owned a pig that had been wandering through Boston. The assistants sided with a rich and unpopular merchant. The deputies sided with a woman who owned a boarding house where many deputies stayed while attending the General Court. The argument would not have been important except that this battle had lasting effects.

The deputies became so upset over the issue that from 1644 on them met apart from the Court of Assistants. The General Court became a bicameral legislature; that is, it included two separate groups, or houses. Although the deputies and the assistants met separately, both houses had to agree before any law was passed by the General Court. Thus, the power of the deputies became equal to that of the assistants.

Later the other colonies went through much the same process, and bicameral legislatures became common. A growing sense of importance on the part of the representatives was always the cause of that development. In early Massachusetts, the deputies’ sense of importance came from the growing importance of the towns they represented.

Town Governments: The governor and assistants gave the towns many responsibilities. They found the towns very helpful in governing the people.

When the General Court began meeting regularly, it too gave more powers to the towns. Some of the tasks given to the towns were small. Town governments inspected fencing, for example, and decided how many pigs a family could keep. Towns were also responsible for larger tasks such as collecting taxes and defending themselves and the colony. More important, the colony granted land to the towns and said the towns could decide how to divide that land among their people.

The towns exercised those rights and responsibilities through town meetings, in which all or most of the town’s adult males voted. The decisions made in town meetings were carried out by a smaller group of elected officials, the selectmen.

1/16/12

Massachusetts Bay part 1

In 1630 another group of Puritans started a new settlement in New England called the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The people who settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony were very different from the simple country folk who went to Plymouth. They were better educated, including among them men who had studied at England’s Cambridge University. They were, on the whole, wealthier as well. Most important yet, they had friends in high places within the English government.

Why They Came

The Massachusetts Bay colonists were Puritans just as the Pilgrims were. They were not, however, separatists. They had found ways to follow their beliefs within the Church of England. By the late 1620’s, however, that was becoming harder to do. King Charles I, who came to the throne in 1625, did all he could to harass the Puritans. Some Puritans feared that before long they would not be able to practice their beliefs in England.

The Puritans who went to Massachusetts Bay in 1630 did not do so only to be able to follow their beliefs. They wanted to build a model community to show how much better the world would be if people lived by Puritan beliefs. They wanted their colony to be a first step toward changing the world, or at least the English world.

“We shall be as a City upon a Hill,” the first governor of Massachusetts Bay said of the colony. “The eyes of all people are upon us.” He meant that people would watch the way the colonists acted. Their colony would be an example to others.

The Massachusetts Bay Company

Because the Puritans had money and support in high places, they were able to control their journey and their colony. In that way, they differed from the Pilgrims.

The Puritans formed their own company, the Massachusetts Bay Company, for which they managed to get a royal charter in March 1629. That charter gave them a right to the lands they wanted to settle. It also gave the company the right to govern any colony it established.

The charter alone did not give the Puritans much confidence in their independence. After all, the Crown had taken back the Virginia Company’s charter only five years earlier.

Sometime in the summer or fall of 1629, a group of Puritan leaders decided to take the charter with them to North America, some 3,000 miles from the king. Then there would be no company in England for the Puritans’ enemies to take over. In fact, the company and the colony became the same thing.

The Massachusetts Bay Company left a small office in London to handle its financial affairs and to keep the king from figuring out what it had done. Not until 1634 did the Crown learn that the company and charter were no longer in England. Then it took steps to take back the charter. It took the Crown 50 years to revoke the charter.

A Good Beginning



Unlike the Pilgrims, the Massachusetts Bay Puritans were well equipped and well prepared for their voyage to New England. They left England in March 1630 in a fleet of 11 ships, 7 to carry some 700 passengers and 4 to carry supplies. Cleary this was not a penny-pinching operation. The Puritans sailed in March so they could arrive in New England while there was still time to plant a crop for harvesting in the fall. They brought with them a supply of limes so they would not suffer from scurvy.

The Puritans’ Vision

All the immigrants of 1630 were Puritans. They went where they had planned to go, to the territory for which they had a legal title. They carried with them a charter that was the basis for the colony’s government. The Puritans even selected a governor before they sailed. They chose John Winthrop, a gentleman trained in the law and with some experience in government.

Winthrop had a very clear idea of what the Puritan colony should be. He outlined his ideas in a sermon he gave on board the ship on which he sailed to Massachusetts. The people of the colony would not be equal he said. Instead, some people would be more important than others. That was how God wanted things, Winthrop thought.

Winthrop told the colonists that they were to be “knit together” by a “bond of love” as were the early Christians. They must always think of the community, not of themselves. If the poor needed help, the rich were to give that help. That was part of their sacred covenant with God. If they broke their covenant and looked only to their own interests, then “the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us,” Winthrop said.

The Founding of Towns

Winthrop and the other Massachusetts Bay leaders expected that the new colony’s people would live together in one place called Boston. The Reverend John Cotton of Boston, England, had preached to the Puritans before they sailed. He so pleased them that they decided to name their new town in his honor. However, they had no idea where this town would be. So their first task in America was to find a place to build Boston.

Where Was Boston? The fleet’s first ships arrived in June 1630 at Salem. Five days later the search began fro a permanent site for the colony.
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The leaders could not agree where to settle, and so they decided to set up a temporary camp on a narrow peninsula of land between the Charles and Mystic rivers. It later became Charlestown. Then disease broke out in the camp. Soon after, there were rumors that the French were about to attack the settlement. So the leaders gave orders to leave.

From late July to September, small groups of colonists left the camp at Charlestown, each with one or two important Puritan leaders. They spread out, setting up what became seven towns along the Massachusetts Bay and the rivers that emptied into it. The settlement on the Shawmut Peninsula became Boston.

Once the colonists left, there was no bringing them back. Boston became the capital because it was easy for people who lived in other towns nearby to get there by water.

More New Towns: As the persecution of Puritans in England grew worse, other Puritans fled to Massachusetts. About 20,000 arrived between 1630 and 1643. They could not all find homes and adequate farmland in Boston. So some moved to other towns for started new ones.

The colony’s leaders tried to limit the scattering of its people. They wanted to keep all the Puritans close to one another so they could be “knit together”. However, the Massachusetts Bay colonists continued to move.

Meanwhile Plymouth Plantation was having much the same problem. As Plymouth prospered, its people also spread out in search of more and better lands. In the 70 years that Plymouth remained an independent colony, its people established 21 new towns. In 1691, Plymouth became part of Massachusetts Bay Colony.



1/12/12

Plymouth

The separatists wanted to live where they could worship God according to their beliefs. For that reason, some went to the Netherlands first. Later they founded Plymouth Colony in what is now mayflower.png. Those separatists became known as Pilgrims, or people who make a long journey to do God’s will.

Starting for Virginia

In the Netherlands, the Pilgrims lived as a community under a covenant. They stayed first in the city of Amsterdam and then in Leyden. The Dutch mostly left them alone, which was all the Pilgrims asked.

As time went on however, some Pilgrims feared their children were becoming too much like the Dutch. They were forgetting the English language, forgetting even that their parents were English. Their children were also failing to honor the Sabbath and committing other sins.

What could be done? The church members fasted and prayed for God’s guidance. In the end, many of the English separatists at Leyden decided to solve the problem by making a new life in North America.

Because they had little money and very few influential friends, the Pilgrims did not have complete control over their journey. They reached an agreement with a group of London merchants who promised the Pilgrims the support they needed to start a settlement in Virginia. The merchants also promised the Pilgrims that they could govern themselves withoutplymouth_colony.pnginterference from England. The new King, King James, disliked the Puritans, and granted the land to them so that he could be rid of them.

The Pilgrims sailed for Virginia in September 1620 aboard the small ship Mayflower. However, many of the 101 passengers on the Mayflower were not Puritans. Those men and women had been hired by the merchants. Some were not even people of very good character. The Pilgrims worried that they would not be able to make their colony an orderly Christian community.

The Mayflower Compact

The Pilgrims worried about the non-Puritan settlers when it became clear that the Mayflower would not land in Virginia at all. The ship was off course, and it would land farther north in the area John Smith had earlier named New England. Some of the passengers declared that no one had power over them outside Virginia and that on shore they would act as they chose.

Then the Pilgrim leaders used their experience with making covenants. They drafted an agreement called the Mayflower Compact. It was signed in the ship’s cabin by 41 adults. It set up a government and proclaimed the loyalty of the new colony to the King.

Over half of the signers were separatists from Leyden. They managed to have one of their members, John Carver, chosen as governor. When Carver died the next spring, the new governor, William Bradford, was also a separatist. Bradford was elected governor of Plymouth Colony for 30 of the next 35 years.

The First Winter
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The Mayflower reached Cape Cod (in what is now Massachusetts) in November 1620, but found the Indians to be unfriendly towards them. They sailed slightly north, and finally selected Plymouth harbor for their settlement. They started building a town there in late December.

The winter of 1620 and 1621 was warmer than most. Still, about 50 of the settlers died. Some suffered from scurvy – a sickness caused by a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables. Others died of diseases brought on by their long days at sea, poor diet, and lack of good shelter on land.

Chief Massasoit and Squanto: The few Indians of the area helped the Pilgrims survive. The Indian population was small because many Indians of the Plymouth area had died in a smallpox epidemic between 1617 and 1619 before the Pilgrims arrived.

In the spring of 1621, the Pilgrims made a peace treaty with Massasoit, the leader of the Wampanoag, the strongest group of the nearby Indians. The agreement was honored by both sides for more than half a century.

When Massasoit first visited Plymouth, he brought with him an Indian named Squanto. Squanto had been captured by an English sea captain in 1614, but managed to escape before he could be sold into slavery. Squanto spoke English and served as the Pilgrim’s interpreter. He showed the Pilgrims how to plant corn and where to fish. He was so helpful to the Pilgrims that Governor Bradford described him as “a special instrument sent of God”.

The First Thanksgiving:
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The Pilgrims had only one winter of starving time. After that first winter they did much better. By late fall of 1621, after their harvest was in, the Pilgrims had a great feast to give thanks – the first Thanksgiving. They were joined in the feast by Massasoit, Squanto, and some 90 Indians who presented the governor with 5 deer they had killed for the feast.











1/10/12
The Puritans
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Thirteen years after Jamestown was founded, the English started a second colony farther north. Its founders did not go to North America in search of gold. Instead, they were seeking a place where they could practice their religious beliefs freely. Those settlers were known as the Puritans.

Puritan Beliefs

The Puritans wanted to “purify” the Church of England by making it much less like the Roman Catholic Church. When King Henry VIII made England a Protestant country, he did not change many religious practices. In 1553, his older daughter, Mary, inherited the throne. She brought England back to the Catholic Church. Because she put many Protestants to death, she became known as Bloody Mary. Some English Protestants fled to other countries in Europe, such as the Netherlands.

When Queen Mary died in 1558, her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth, became queen. Then the Protestants who had fled England were able to return. Many of them wanted to make the English church like the Protest churches of the Netherlands. The most extreme of those reformers were given the name Puritan by their enemies.

The Puritan reformers wanted a far simpler church than that of the Catholics. They wanted to do away with many levels of church authority, such as bishops. They wanted plain church services in buildings without statues, stained glass, or paintings. The thought believers should spend time reflecting on God and the Bible.

The Covenant

For Puritans, the church was a community of believers, not a building. They had a very definite idea of what made up that community. God, they believed, had divided all humans into two groups – the saved and the damned. Those who were in the saved group were God’s “saints”.

On Earth, the saints formed a church by coming together and agreeing to live in a Christian community. Its members promised to help each other fulfill God’s will. They called that agreement a covenant. When a new church was formed, its members wrote a new covenant. The damned had no place in such a church. So the Puritans did not welcome everyone into their churches.

Separatists

The Puritan idea of a church was very different from the Church of England. Anyone born in England was presumed to e a member of the Church of England. No one was excluded, not even terrible sinners. Many English Puritans felt they could not remain within the Church of England. To live according to their beliefs, those Puritans – known as Separatists – thought that they had to break away from the Church of England. They wanted to found their own, separate churches. Other Puritans thought it was still possible to remain within the Church of England. They were non-separatists.