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: Older More prosperous Ratio of men to women was more equally balanced Due to the sex ratio and better climate, the population grew 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 community 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 rights 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, servants 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. Government The colony was organized in self governing towns. Groups of settlers would receive a land grant from the colony’s government and subdivide it themselves. 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 non-Puritans. 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 prestigious.