Massachusetts Bay Company The Great Migration

Massachusetts Bay Company
The Great Migration
 Chartered in 1629 by a group of London merchants
 5 Ships left England in 1629, by 1642 21,000
Puritans had emigrated to Massachusetts Bay
 Goals – Further the Puritan cause
Profit through Indian trade
 By 1642, migration had virtually ceased
Comparison to Other Colonies
 Servants represented about 25% of the Great Migration
 Most settlers came with families
 Unlike Virginia and Maryland the settlers were:
More prosperous
Ratio of men to women was more equally
 Due to the sex ratio and better climate, the population
 By 1700 the white population was 91,000 larger than that
of the Chesapeake and West Indies
Puritan Families
 The family was the foundation of a strong
 Unmarried adults were considered a danger to the
community fabric.
 A typical woman was married at the age 22 and bore
7 children
 Due to the climate, the infant mortality rate was
lower than the southern colonies
 Most of a woman’s life was devoted to child bearing
and rearing.
 Males were head of the household
 Married women had very limited legal and economic
 Male authority vital to a man’s economic success
especially in a farming community with few servants
and a large family
 While women were NOT the economic equals of
men, they were considered equal spiritually.
Puritan Liberties
 Social hierarchy
 People who were considered socially prominent were
given the best land and choice seats in church
 People were referred to as “goodman,” “goodwife,”
“gentleman,” “lady,” “master,” or “mistress”
 Inequality was an expression of God’s will
 Slavery was allowed
 Separate list of rights for men, women, children,
 Ministers weren’t allowed to hold office
 The law allowed for the death penalty for
worshipping any God but the lord God
 Taxes were collected to support the minister
 Some rights such as free speech and assembly were
allowed to all.
 Puritan marriage was based on reciprocal affection
and companionship and divorce was legal.
 The husband’s authority was virtually absolute.
 The colony was organized in self governing towns.
 Groups of settlers would receive a land grant from
the colony’s government and subdivide it
 Residents were given a house lot in a central area
and land on the outskirts for farming.
 A lot of the land remained in common ownership:
To be used collectively
To be divided later among settlers or for the
sons of the founders.
 Each settlement was required to establish a school.
 Harvard University was established in 1636.
 The colony was to be ruled without interference from
 A group of 8 deputies was elected by landowning
church members to form the General Court.
 10 years later, company officers and elected deputies
were divided into two legislative houses.
 The freemen elected a Governor.
 Churches were formed by agreement and ministers
were elected.
 No important church decision was made without
agreement of male members.
 Anyone could worship at church but to be a member
one had to prove worthiness.
 Church membership was considered to be