The New England Colonies

Ch2/Sec2: The New England Colonies, pp. 42-48.
1. Pilgrims and Puritans:
Who were they?
Two groups of Protestants in England:
a) Puritans: they wanted to purify, or reform, the Anglican Church
b) Separatists: they wanted to break away from the Anglican Church
and establish a separate church
 The Pilgrims were a Separatist group, who decided to escape
religious persecution and leave England  they became emigrants
(people who have left the country of their birth to live in another
 Moved to the Netherlands in 1608  they were concerned that
their children would forget the English language and culture 
 Decided to leave the Netherlands for the colony of Virginia 
formed a joint-stock company
 102 Pilgrims left the Netherlands for Virginia in 1620 aboard the
ship, the Mayflower
The Mayflower Compact:
Signed on November 11, 1620 aboard the Mayflower by 41 male
A social contract among the passengers
They willingly agreed to give up some of their individual rights in
order to form a government that protects everyone’s rights
Fair laws to protect the general good – think of traffic lights today!
“My right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”
(Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, 200 years later)
The 1st attempt at self-government in the English colonies
Set a precedence / created a model for self-governance
 The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in today’s Massachusetts
 Nearly half of them died during the first winter due to the
freezing weather and sickness
Pilgrims and Native Americans:
 Squanto: a Patuxet Indian who spoke English
- Fertilizing the soil w/ fish remains
- Peaceful relations w/ the Wampanoag Indians
- Thanksgiving feast: marked the survival of the Pilgrims in the new
Pilgrim Community:
 Farming and trading in fish & fur
 Families as centers of religious life, health care, education, &
community well-being
 Division of labor:
- Women: cooking, spinning, weaving, sewing, soap & butter, caring
for livestock
- Men: farming, repairing tools, chopping wood, building shelters
 Women’s status:
- More rights than in England: sign contracts, sue, own property
 The Pilgrim community grew significantly due to economic
(unemployment & taxes), political (rebellions), & religious crises
(persecution of religious dissenters) b/w 1620-1640
- Great Migration
* King Charles I  charter to a group of Puritans  Massachusetts
Bay Company
* 1630: Puritans led by John Winthrop to establish an ideal
Christian community (“city upon a hill”)
* Tools, livestock, peaceful trading relations w/ the Indians &
Plymouth, healthy climate
* Successful colony  by 1691, MBC also included Plymouth
2. Religion and Government in New England:
 General Court: self-government to represent the needs of the people
- 2 or 3 delegates per town
- elected the governor & his cabinet
- became a 2-house (bicameral) legislature
 No separation of church and state:
- Gov.’t leaders were church member
- Ministers had great authority
- Gov.’t leaders outlawed certain religious views & punished
 Thomas Hooker – founded Connecticut (1636)
- The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut: not just church members
could vote  expansion of democracy
 Roger Williams – founded Providence (later Rhode Island); supported:
- Paying for Indian land
- Separation of church & state
- Religious tolerance
 Anne Hutchinson – founded Portsmouth (later included in RI)
- People’s relationship w/ God did not need guidance from ministers
(Williams & Hutchinson were forced out of the MBC for their views.)
3. New England Economy:
 Rocky soil  little farming, lots of manufacturing
 Trade: furs, pickled beef, pork, dried fish
 Fishing: cod, mackerel, halibut, whales
 Shipbuilding: merchant & fishing ships
 Crafts: skilled trades, such as blacksmithing, weaving, shipbuilding,
(Apprentice  journeyman  (exam)  master craftsman)
4. Education in the colonies: important
 Parents wanted their children to be able to read the Bible
 MBC passed laws requiring the education of children
 Public education: to ensure educated ministers for the future
- Town schools (1 in each town w/ 50 families)
- New England Primer as textbook
- Elementary education only
- Public schooling in the New England colonies only (parents or
private tutors in the Southern colonies)
 Higher education:
- Harvard College (1636)
- William and Mary (1693)
 Literacy rate (the ability to read and write): 70% of men & 45% of
women in New England (much smaller in Virginia)
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