While individual immigrants to seventeenth-century New England might differ on whether they anticipated or found a worldly paradise or a barren wilderness, nearly all, Puritan and non-Puritan alike, understood, either by word or deed, that "it is a Principle in Nature, That in a vacant soyle, hee that taketh possession of it, and bestoweth culture and husbandry upon it" has an inviolable right to the land. To those who held contrary views, Puritan leaders in particular were quick to offer challenges.
The New England colonies Although lacking a charter, the founders of Plymouth in Massachusetts were, like their counterparts in Virginiadependent upon private investments from profit-minded backers to finance their colony.
Inthe first year of settlement, nearly half the Pilgrim settlers died of disease. From that time forward, however, and despite decreasing support from English investors, the health and the economic position of the colonists improved.
The Pilgrims soon secured peace treaties with most of the Indians around them, enabling them to devote their time to building a strong, stable economic base rather than diverting their efforts toward costly and time-consuming problems of defending the colony from attack. Although none of their principal economic pursuits—farming, fishing, and trading—promised them lavish wealth, the Pilgrims in America were, after only five years, self-sufficient.
The Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Mass. Library of Congress, Washington D. The First Thanksgiving, reproduction of an oil painting by J. Ferris, early 20th century.
Library of Congress, Washington, D. LC-USZC Although the Pilgrims were always a minority in Plymouth, they nevertheless controlled the entire governmental structure of their colony during the first four decades of settlement.
Before disembarking from the Mayflower inthe Pilgrim founders, led by William Bradforddemanded that all the adult males aboard who were able to do so sign a compact promising obedience to the laws and ordinances drafted by the leaders of the enterprise.
Although the Mayflower Compact has been interpreted as an important step in the evolution of democratic government in America, it is a fact that the compact represented a one-sided arrangement, with the settlers promising obedience and the Pilgrim founders promising very little.
Although nearly all the male inhabitants were permitted to vote for deputies to a provincial assembly and for a governor, the colony, for at least the first 40 years of its existence, remained in the tight control of a few men. After the people of Plymouth gradually gained a greater voice in both their church and civic affairs, and bywhen Plymouth colony also known as the Old Colony was annexed to Massachusetts Bay, the Plymouth settlers had distinguished themselves by their quiet, orderly ways.
Pilgrims signing the Mayflower Compact, reproduction of an oil painting, Nonetheless, one of the recurring problems facing the leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was to be the tendency of some, in their desire to free themselves from the alleged corruption of the Church of England, to espouse Separatist doctrine.
When these tendencies or any other hinting at deviation from orthodox Puritan doctrine developed, those holding them were either quickly corrected or expelled from the colony. The civil government of the colony was guided by a similar authoritarian spirit.
Men such as John Winthropthe first governor of Massachusetts Bay, believed that it was the duty of the governors of society not to act as the direct representatives of their constituents but rather to decide, independently, what measures were in the best interests of the total society.
The original charter of gave all power in the colony to a General Court composed of only a small number of shareholders in the company. On arriving in Massachusetts, many disfranchised settlers immediately protested against this provision and caused the franchise to be widened to include all church members.
Although the charter of technically gave the General Court the power to decide on all matters affecting the colony, the members of the ruling elite initially refused to allow the freemen in the General Court to take part in the lawmaking process on the grounds that their numbers would render the court inefficient.
In the General Court adopted a new plan of representation whereby the freemen of each town would be permitted to select two or three delegates and assistants, elected separately but sitting together in the General Court, who would be responsible for all legislation.
There was always tension existing between the smaller, more prestigious group of assistants and the larger group of deputies.
Inas a result of this continuing tension, the two groups were officially lodged in separate houses of the General Court, with each house reserving a veto power over the other.
Despite the authoritarian tendencies of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a spirit of community developed there as perhaps in no other colony.
Although life in Massachusetts was made difficult for those who dissented from the prevailing orthodoxy, it was marked by a feeling of attachment and community for those who lived within the enforced consensus of the society. Many New Englanders, however, refused to live within the orthodoxy imposed by the ruling elite of Massachusetts, and both Connecticut and Rhode Island were founded as a by-product of their discontent.
Motivated both by a distaste for the religious and political structure of Massachusetts and by a desire to open up new land, Hooker and his followers began moving into the Connecticut valley in By they had succeeded in founding three towns— HartfordWindsorand Wethersford. In the separate colony of New Haven was founded, and in Connecticut and Rhode Island merged under one charter.
Roger Williamsthe man closely associated with the founding of Rhode Island, was banished from Massachusetts because of his unwillingness to conform to the orthodoxy established in that colony. His own strict criteria for determining who was regenerate, and therefore eligible for church membership, finally led him to deny any practical way to admit anyone into the church.
Once he recognized that no church could ensure the purity of its congregation, he ceased using purity as a criterion and instead opened church membership to nearly everyone in the community.
Moreover, Williams showed distinctly Separatist leanings, preaching that the Puritan church could not possibly achieve purity as long as it remained within the Church of England. Finally, and perhaps most serious, he openly disputed the right of the Massachusetts leaders to occupy land without first purchasing it from the Native Americans.
In William Coddingtonanother dissenter in Massachusetts, settled his congregation in Newport. Four years later Samuel Gortonyet another minister banished from Massachusetts Bay because of his differences with the ruling oligarchysettled in Shawomet later renamed Warwick. In these three communities joined with a fourth in Portsmouth under one charter to become one colony called Providence Plantation in Narragansett Bay.Sep 01, · Best Answer: The New England Colonies The four original New England Colonies were: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
The Environment of the New England Colonies The climate of the New England Colonies was colder than the other two colonial regions because they were the farthest Status: Resolved.
The Southern gentry was more into fox hunting, horse racing, and into dueling, for which the Puritans of New England had scorn. The South had a higher percentage . Social Studies Classroom Assessment Task Colonial Regionalism. in the New England colonies, the Middle colonies, and the Southern colonies.
In part, the cultural differences among colonies can be attributed to this diversity.
Thomas Hagen: The diversity of the United States goes back to its beginning as a collection of northern, middle, and southern colonies. Their differences in religion, politics, economics, and social issues, and the way they dealt with them, are what shaped our country into what we are today.
Settlements were sparse and scattered, yet New Jersey's highways were the best in the colonies due to its location between New York and Philadelphia, and between the northern and southern colonies.
West New Jersey served as a haven for persecuted English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish Quakers. Harsh codes were adopted across the South, and although slavery was less common in the North, many New England shippers profited from the so-called triangular trade.
Slavery was indeed becoming entrenched in British colonial life.