|Chapter Six - English Colonies in North America (1607-1732)
Recap: Chapter 5 ended with the 2nd failed Roanoke colony of 1587 mysteriously disappeared when John White returned in 1591. It is now approximately 16 years later:
I. Success at Jamestown - Despite many difficulties, England established its first permanent colony in the Americas in 1607 at Jamestown. Notice: a. How the English paid for the establishment of colonies; b. What happened to the English settlement at Jamestown.
John Smith became a professional soldier in France (left home in England age 16) then went,
Home, then back to being a soldier where he was captured by Turks and sold into slavery. Captive for several years, he finally killed his owner and escaped on horse to Russia, returning to
England by 1606.
A. England Plans Colonies
John Smith found a changed England: “Good Queen Bess” (Elizabeth I) had died and her
Cousin, King James of Scotland was now the British monarch (1603-1625).
James had made peace with Spain (1604), thus English privateers could no longer raid Spanish ships, and Spain no longer claimed certain parts of North America.
Now that there was peace with Spain, England was again turning her sights to colonies in
North America, and participating in the new Atlantic world.
Merchants were strong supporters of the colonies idea because they believed that the
Americas offered valuable trade opportunities.
The problem with getting colonies started was how to pay for it:
Roanoke’s lessons had taught the English that one person’s money alone was not sufficient as a source for the start-up costs of a whole colony (Walter Raleigh’s money had not been enough for Roanoke.)
Spain’s monarchs had financed Spain’s colonies in the Americas, but England’s monarchs did not have those sorts of funds available.
The English therefore, turned to joint-stock companies – business organizations that had
been started in Genoa, Italy by bankers as a means of pooling the financial resources of many investors in order to undertake a larger money-making project than any of the individuals involved had the means to undertake on their own alone.
Joint-stock companies were backed by investors who bought shares of stock in a
Project - any losses suffered or any profits gained were shared jointly by investors proportional to the number of the shares of stock that the investor held.
7. Thus, a group of London merchants organized a joint-stock company called The Virginia
Company of London.
8. And merchants in Plymouth, England organized The Virginia Company of Plymouth.
In 1606, England’s King James granted each company a royal charter to set-up outposts in
North America (a charter was a written contract giving rights to a person or group.)
The Virginia Company of London’s charter gave them the right to settle the southern
Part of England’s claimed lands in North America.
The Virginia Company of Plymouth’s charter gave them the right to settle the
northern part of England’s claim.
10. The charters also granted each of the companies a monopoly on trade in their colony.
B. The Founding of Jamestown
The Virginia Company of London began organizing an expedition to North America:
Hiring three ships and captains, they hired John Smith to purchase supplies
The colonists who set sail saw themselves as latter day conquistadors.
In late December 1606 3 ships set sail with 100 to 105 men and boys (all volunteers)
*Enroute, Smith so annoyed the captains with his arrogance they decided to hang him
when they arrived, but later changed their minds (Smith was heavily armed and dangerous.)
In April of 1607 the ships entered the calm waters later named the Chesapeake Bay by Smith.
The colonists decided to settle near the mouth of the James River, naming the settlement Jamestown in honor of King James.
C. Terrible Hardships
There were many hardships in the colony:
Poor Site - The site was swampy and loaded with mosquitoes
Sickness - The drinking water made the colonists sick
Fear - The colonists were extremely fearful of the powerful Powhatan Indians nearby (Powhatan was the “mamanatowick,” or supreme chief of a confederacy of Algonkian Indians that encompassed at least 30 subordinate chiefdoms – each with its own “werowance” or chief. The Chesapeake Bay area enjoyed a very temperate climate and was home to approximately 20,000 Algonkian people at the time of the colonists’ arrival.
Greed - The settlers were greedy – wanting to search for gold, not build shelters or grow food, thus, by autumn, food supplies were already low, and of the original 105, only 38 were still alive.
Wrong types – Of the 300 settlers that came to Jamestown between 1607 and 1609 nearly 60 were aristocrats (who thought that physical labor was beneath them.) Most of the rest were unskilled laborers, military recruits, and servants. Except for a few craftsmen, they were overwhelmingly male, single, and young. They had come to get rich, and knew nothing of how to farm (nor was farming their intention), thus, they began to steal from the Indians to avoid starving.
Spain’s legacy – Spain had already attempted unsuccessfully to plant a base nearby and had brought disease and conflict to the region. The Powhatan chief wanted to engage in trade with the English and extend his confederacy with English help.
In the first 10 years of settlement, approximately ½ to 2/3 of all the arriving settlers died
within a year of their getting to Jamestown.
Finally, Smith took control of the new colony and dealt with some of the colony’s problems in a way that kept the colony from failing altogether:
Defense- Smith made the settlers build a wall around the community.
Food-Smith convinced the Powhatan to trade corn to the colonists. The Powhatan chief mistrusted the English, but respected Smith (and may have hoped to gain his help against rival Indian groups in the region.) The colonists survived the first year on gifts from the Powhatan, but Smith eventually began to plunder food from the surrounding tribes, and lost their assistance.
Rule to compensate for reluctant labor-Smith set a new rule to ensure equal work for all: no work, no eating.
After 2 years in the Jamestown colony, Smith was injured so badly in a gunpowder explosion
he had to return home to England.
The same year that Smith shipped home (1609), 800 more settlers arrived in Jamestown
including whole families.
After 1609, hoping to bring order to the colony that was filled with settlers reluctant to work,
the joint-stock company (the Virginia Company of London) started being selective about whom
they sent to the colony. They replaced soldiers and adventurers with their idea of morally
Superior men, paying special attention to the prospective colonist’s religious beliefs. Recruiters rejected any who could not “bring or render some good testimony of his relationship to God.”
The winter of 1609 was extremely harsh for the 800 new settlers. The Powhatan had decided
to starve them out and stopped trading food. Many of the colonists resorted to eating rats, starvation, and cannibalism. Of the 838 settlers only 60 survived the winter.
But unlike Roanoke, which had suffered a lack of overseas support and too few colonists, the
Virginia Company of London kept right on sending new supplies and new settlers. The company was determined to make a go of the colony and made several decisions in that direction:
They committed to a protracted war with the Indians.
For the next ten years, daily religious services, led by company ministers were mandatory.
The Company also sought stronger leaders to better control the colonists.
Slowly the colony began to grow, and they began to have some successes with the Powhatan.
In 1614 a treaty was signed with the Powhatan (the chief was worn down by disease and
The Powhatan chief sent his daughter, Pocahontas on a diplomatic mission and she
converted to Christianity. She married a Jamestown colonist, John Rolfe which helped forge a peace between the colonists and the Powhatan. Then Pocahontas died of T.B. (probably contracted while visiting England in 1617).
The Powhatan chief was so sad about the death of his daughter that he abdicated his rule
to his brother Opechancanough, and then died a year later.
Gradually, the colonists began to learn from the Indians how to fend for themselves. They
Began to grow corn, fish and trap wild fowl.
The colony had begun growing tobacco in 1611.
b. In 1613, John Rolfe developed a hybrid form of tobacco, which soon became very popular
in England (They first believed it had medicinal properties—tobacco had first been introduced to England in the 1580s by Drake.)
Ultimately, Jamestown’s success as a colony hinged on their tobacco crop successes:
Because of the region’s long growing season and fertile soil, the tobacco crop was thriving (However, because the tobacco itself quickly exhausted the rich soil of necessary nutrients, it required continued encroachment into Indian territory for new soil on which to plant the tobacco crop.)
In addition, because of the tidal rivers, there was a great deal of accessibility to the tobacco crop in terms of export shipping.
Thus, the colony’s exporting of tobacco boomed: From the 2,000 lbs shipped in 1615, it increased to 1.5 million lbs of tobacco shipped in 1630. (Without this success the Virginia Company of London would have undoubtedly abandoned the Jamestown colony as unprofitable.)
The typical profits from the harvest of one acre of planted tobacco brought gains to the Virginia Company of London that were the equivalent of ten times what the colonists made in a whole year of pay from the company.
The Virginia Company of London thought of the Jamestown colonists as “employees,” but the colonists did not want to work only for the benefit of the company.
The colonists began to demand a larger share of the tobacco profits.
The London Company’s response to the Jamestown demands was to let the settlers own the
land. This made them willing to work longer and harder in harvesting the crop because they felt they had something to gain. The Company offered “a house and four acres as long as they plied their trades.” (See propaganda handout – Smith’s glossing on drawings of Indian life.)
Then, to attract new settlers, the Company began to offer a 50 acre land grant to every man,
woman, and child that could pay their own way to the colony.
a. Furthermore, any planter who could pay 120 lbs of best leaf tobacco, could buy a wife from the Virginia Company of London.
The result was a population boom. From a population of 600 in 1619, the region climbed to
over 2,000 by 1621.
More workers began to be needed. For those who couldn’t afford to pay for their own
passage, the option of becoming an indentured servant (someone who sold their future labor in exchange for passage overseas) existed.
Indentured service usually lasted 4-7 years. Most who chose this option were males,
although there were some women and children. Children were expected to serve until age 21.
Indentured servants also came from elsewhere. In 1619 a Dutch ship brought 20 Africans to
Jamestown as indentured servants (As late as 1680, slaves made up less than 7% of the Chesapeake population – probably because they were so much more expensive than servants.)
a. While the difference between slavery and indentured servitude probably seemed
somewhat academic to the people themselves – the harsh system of indentured service surely paved the way for the slavery that began to occur in the second half of the 17th century.
Completion of a term of indentured service entitled one to “freedom dues” (clothing, tools,
a gun, a spinning wheel, a little land, and perhaps food) most freed from service headed west
into the backcountry to start their own farms—often at great risk of being attacked by Indians.
At least ¾ of those who came to the colony came as indentured servants. Indentured
Servants could also be convicts and vagabonds – often times these had to complete 14 years of service. Notice the inset in the textbook on Elizabeth Canning convicted of lying to a court in England and sentenced to 7 years indentured service in America. Also notice the propaganda—the idealized add for a pregnant yet happy ending.
Those who tried to escape instead of serving out their indentured service only extended the
amount of service owed if they were caught.
Changes in Government – Company Concessions
The colonists at Jamestown were soon annoyed with the strict rules of the Company Governor:
The Company’s “Lawes divine, morall, and martiall” gave leaders the authority to set
the colonists to work under a strict “militarie discipline,” dividing them into labor gangs.
The “beating of the drum” summoned them to work each morning, and at the end of a
long day another “beat them to church.” Then they marched home, often sleeping on the dirt floor of a vermin infested barracks.
Every aspect of the colonist’s bleak existence was regimented and under company
Colonists could not go back to England without Company permission.
Often censors read their pitiful letters home and edited them if they sounded too bleak.
Laws imposed the death penalty on anyone who “shall dare to detract, slander, calumniate, or utter unseemly and unfitting speeches” against the Company, its officers, or its publications.
In order to provide some local government, the Company decided that martial law would be
softened, and some elected representatives of the settlers, “Burgesses,” would meet at least
once a year in a colonial assembly.
In 1619 the House of Burgesses was created to make laws for the Jamestown colony. It was
the first representative assembly in the American colonies.
Of course the Company retained the right to veto the laws made by the House of Burgesses,
however, in terms of increasing the popularity of Jamestown with new recruits, the concessions worked.
Between 1619, and 1625, nearly 5,000 settlers came to Virginia (unfortunately most died,
probably from epidemics of typhoid fever—leaving a total of about 1,000.)
Ironically, the Company’s very successes spelled death for the Company. Because it was
so successful, in 1624 King James dissolved the Virginia Company of London, and made Virginia a royal colony of England under his direct supervision instead.
In the colony of Jamestown under King James life was still extremely difficult, and very
different from an English village:
In fact, in Jamestown the tobacco planters were not gathered into villages at all,
rather, they were scattered all along the vast network of navigable rivers along which the
tobacco crop was grown and collected.
Planters and indentured servants alike lived in crude one-room shacks. They lived lonely
lives, miles from any neighbors or friends.
Men scrambling for wealth in this hard existence had little time for public spirit or civic
cooperation, thus there were very few churches and schools that got established in
The Jamestown colony.
d. Rather than a real community, early Virginia was more like an armed camp where
individualism, competition, and fear prevailed. Indentured servants were treated horribly.
e. Unlike the French, the Jamestown settlers were not interested in trade with the Indians,
in fact, they excluded the Indians. This exclusion, and constant pushing the Indians further and further back from the periphery of English expansion greatly angered the
In 1622, as the English continued to press for additional lands in Virginia, the Powhatan
Indians under Opechancanough prepared the Chesapeake area Indians for a final
assault on the invaders. Calling for a cultural revival (guided by his shaman: Nemattanew,
Opechancanough told his people to reject English ways but to learn to use fire arms.
On Good Friday, March 22, 1622, nearly ¼ of the settlers (350 colonists) were killed in a
surprise attack that stretched on into a war that lasted for the next ten years (until 1632.)
As a result, the English began to talk in terms of Indian territory that could be obtained
by what they now called a “just war.” They claimed, “We may now, by right of war, and law of nations, invade the country, and destroy them who sought to destroy us, whereby we shall enjoy their cultivated places.” Countless scholars have debated about “just war” theory—discussing what, if any thing, qualifies as the circumstances under which going to war is the “just” (the right, justifiable, or correct according to the laws of justice) thing to do.
In 1625, Charles I replaced James I as the King of England. As the colonist’s economy took
Off, the population doubled every 5 years from 1625 to 1640 (by then 10,000.)
Opechancanough was still the undisputed Algonkian leader, but disease was by then taking
An incredible toll. By 1640, the Algonkian population had declined to 10,000 (down by ½.)
In 1644 Opechancanough organized a final revolt, killing more than 500 colonists, but the
Colonists crushed the Algonkian in 1645, capturing and executing Opechancanough. The
Defeated Chesapeake Indians signed a formal treaty that granted them small reserved
By the 1670s Virginia’s population of colonists was more than 40,000 while only a dozen
Tribes, totaling about 2,000 of the Algonkians remained.
Today there are approximately 1,500 people who trace roots to the Powhatan Confederacy
Living in the Chesapeake Indian communities near Richmond, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
II. The Pilgrims at Plymouth - Started in 1620 by a small group of English settlers, the Plymouth colony survived its difficult first year. Notice: A. Who settled at Plymouth and why; B. Why the Plymouth settlers established their own rules for the colony.
A. The Voyage of the Pilgrims
1. The Pilgrims (“pilgrims are any people how make a journey for religious reasons—eg. a pilgrimage to Mecca) of Plymouth colony were seeking freedom from religious persecution in England.
a. These Pilgrims were “religious separatists” who had broken away from the Church of England. The Pilgrims
were English followers of John Calvin.
b. Like Calvin, the Pilgrims emphasized hard work. Pilgrim life was as much a set of social and political values as it was a set of religious ones. They basically thought that the Anglican (Church of England) establishment was
so corrupt that they had to start their own church.
2. Because of their actions and accusations, King James of England had routinely been persecuting the separatist Pilgrims in England.
a. In 1609 (two years after the colony in Jamestown was founded, a group of these separatists moved from England to Leiden in Holland so that they could worship freely - because Holland was known for its “religious tolerance.”
b. However, the Pilgrims were not very happy in Holland. Although they stayed there for a few years, they did not like the fact that they could not farm, living in the city as they were. They were also quite upset as their children started speaking Dutch instead of their native language, English.
c. Finally, these Pilgrims in Holland petitioned the Virginia Company of Plymouth for the opportunity to move as a group to the new world. Their request was approved.
3. In September of 1620, the Mayflower, carrying Pilgrims, arrived off of the coast of Cape Cod after a 66 day voyage. They were extremely off course.
a. The Virginia Company of Plymouth had wanted the Pilgrims to settle near the mouth of the Hudson River---at the northernmost area within the overall territory that was claimed by England (a.k.a. Virginia), but a storm had put them further north still, in an area that John Smith (of Jamestown) had mapped, and called “New England.”
4. Led by William Bradford, 102 people, mostly Pilgrims, disembarked from the Mayflower when it arrived.
5. By November of 1620 Bradford had drafted the Mayflower Compact to ease the worries of the hired members of the crew (the non-Pilgrims.)
a. Because the Pilgrims landed outside the limits of the Virginia Company
charter, they had no authority to make or enforce rules over the
new colonists and the non-Pilgrims in the group feared that they would
be totally dominated by the authority of the Pilgrims.
b. The Compact drawn up by Bradford in November provided the
necessary rules to keep the new society from collapsing and bound
the new settlers all together in a “civil body politic.”
c. According to the Compact, all would abide by any laws agreed upon
for the good of the colony.
d. While the Compact was an informal agreement, it helped establish the
idea of self-government in the colonies.
6. The colonists from the Mayflower settled at a site on John Smith’s map called “Plymouth” because it had a good harbor, cleared fields, and running brooks.
B. Hard Times at Plymouth
1. Like the early settlers at Jamestown, the Pilgrims at Plymouth had a
starving time. Over the course of the first winter half of them died. However, by spring help in the form of Indians had arrived.
a. Samoset was a Pemaquid Indian who had learned to speak English from European fishermen. Samoset introduced the settlers to an Indian named Squanto.
b. Squanto was a Patuxet Indian who had been captured by an English sea Captain, and made a slave and taken away from his people on a ship. Years later he returned to the area by working as a sailor on a trading
c. When Squanto returned, all of his fellow Patuxets had been wiped out by disease. Thus, he was in an unprecedented situation. Squanto made the rare decision to create a new role of cultural intermediary for himself. *Squanto helped the colonists plant corn, beans, and pumpkins and acted as an interpreter translating between the colonists and the local Indians.
2. The Pilgrims at Plymouth were basically rescued by Massasoit the “sachem” or leader of the local
Wampanoag Indians in exchange for an alliance with them against the Narragansett Indians to the west.
a. Note: The general name for the tribes in the New England area (like the Chesapeake area) was Algonkian –the name is probably a French variation of the Micmac word algumaking, meaning “fishing-place”, or was derived from a Maliseet word elakomkwik, meaning “they are our relatives.”
b. There were seven principal confederated (a linguistic family of tribal groups) Algonkian nations: The Pequots (lower Connecticut River and west of Narragansett Bay), the Narragansett (territory near Narragansett Bay and islands in the Bay—now most of present-day Rhode Island), the Wampanoag—the most famous of the Algonkians in New England (controlling from eastern shore of Narragansett Bay to the outer beaches of Cape Cod), the Massachusetts (controlling the Charles and Missituck (Mystic) Rivers, as well as all of the Boston Harbor Islands), the Pocumtuck (from southeastern Vermont and southwestern New Hampshire to the area of present-day Hartford, CT), and the Pennacoock (with twin tribal seats at Pawtucket—Lowell, MA, and Pennacook—Concord, MA, who controlled membership from northeastern
Massachusetts, throughout much of present day New Hampshire to the Saco River in Maine), and the Abenaki (along the Maine coast and deep into the interior of northern New England.
c. Squanto became Massasoit’s advisor in terms of the English colonists, and helped establish a peace that lasted for several years.
3. The Plymouth Colony was never a financial success. However, with Squanto’s help, the colonists began to trade with the Indians for furs, and prepare clapboard (lumber cut in a particular way for use in building houses) for shipment back to England because they had agreed to develop products in the Colony that would help pay back the Virginia Company of Plymouth in England for their initial investment in getting the colonists started.
4. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated as a 3-day feast sometime in the fall of 1621 to acknowledge the blessings of a good harvest.
5. Life was still very difficult for the colonists at Plymouth however, and many resented having to work for the good of the whole and share equally the work—especially women who were obliged to cook and wash for the men
whether they were their husbands or not. Thus, Bradford decided to give each family a piece of land for its own use. This switch to private property led to greater success for some of the people, and tended to benefit the colony as a whole.
6. Despite the fact that William Bradford was re-elected by the annual meeting of property owners to 30 consecutive terms as Governor, by mid century (1650s) the Plymouth Colony had dispersed into 11 separate communities.
III. The Settlement of New England - The people who settled New England had hoped to build a model society based on their religious views. Notice: Why thousands of English people chose to migrate to the Americas in the 1630s; How Massachusetts colonists structured their society; How Massachusetts reacted to those who challenged their established views.
A. The Arrest of Thomas Morton
1. Thomas Morton was a colonist who settled north of Plymouth establishing his own colony in which he allowed a anyone to settle (including any escaped servants from Plymouth.) Morton named the place “Merrymount.” He also
traded guns to the Indians for furs, which enraged Bradford and the Plymouth colonists.
2. Bradford ordered Morton’s arrest and had him shipped back to England. Morton was back in Massachusetts within a year, but by then lots of religious-minded colonists had settled there and the wild days were over.
B. Unrest in England
1. The population remained relatively small in the New England colonies at first.
a. During the 1620s no more than a total of 500 people had arrived.
2. However, during the 1630s there was a population boom in New England as more and more people fled the unrest going on at home in England.
3. Part of the unrest was economic because trade was down and people were suffering.
4. A large part of the problem came from King Charles I (James son) who was very insistent that all of the people of England worship in the same way—in the Church of England.
a. By this time it was already 100 years after the Reformation, but England was still arguing about how the Church of England should be. Even though the Church was not under Catholic control, it still kept many
Catholic traditions as part of its services.
5. People who differed with the Church of England like the Puritans continued to have increasing difficulties as a result of their beliefs. Such people were called “puritans” because they wanted to purify and reform the Church of England.
a. According to the Puritans, the Church of England was still following a form of Christianity that was little different than Catholicism, and was too “popish.” The Puritans rejected the official Church of England and publicly accused it in Parliament of being too Catholic
b. The Puritans wanted to rid the Church of England, or the Anglican Church, of such popish traditions as having statues, and paintings, and instrumental music during the service. They also objected to celebrations of Christmas, and church weddings as being the wrong use of the Anglican Church. They disliked that the
Anglican Church allowed its members to play sports and games on Sundays---because they believed it was sinful to do so.
c. The Puritans argued for a return to the early ways of Christians as spelled out in the Bible.
6. Charles I, however did not believe there should be any separation between Church and state---instead he argued that they were same thing. If people were allowed to question the authority of the Church of England, he said, soon they would think they could also question the authority of the King.
a. When King Charles I (King James’ son and successor in 1625) married a Catholic Princess he was criticized by Puritans for this.
b. In 1629 Charles tried to get rid of the Puritans altogether by dissolving Parliament as a way of stopping a large number of the members of Parliament who were Puritans from criticizing him and the Church of
c. One of the Puritan leaders, John Winthrop became very discouraged at this point, and thereafter, thousands of Puritans began to migrate to New England.
7. In 1629 a Royal Charter was granted to a group of wealthy Puritans in England. They established the Massachusetts Bay Company, and were granted the right to govern the territory between the Merrimack and the
Charles Rivers, renaming the area Salem.
8. In 1630 John Winthrop, the Puritan leader of the Great Migration crossed the Atlantic with fellow Puritans. During the passage he delivered his famous Arabella Sermon aboard the ship the Arabella. In the speech, Winthrop, who was not a minister, compared each family to a little commonwealth with the father at the head. He also put into words the Puritans’ understanding of their migration to New England—the goals they
hoped to achieve, and the responsibilities they assumed. His sermon was entitled “A Model of Christian Charity.”
9. In 1635 another group of Puritans left Weymouth England with a total of 106 passengers and their minister Joseph Hull. The group was made up of fellow Puritans and neighbors. Most of the group was family in some way---98 members of the group accounted for just 14 families. 2 out of 5 people in the group were children—women and children were the solid majority.
10. King Charles’ move to dissolve Parliament marks the commencement of what is known as the Great Migration.
C. The Great Migration
1. From the years 1629 - 1643 the Great Migration took place. During this time as many as 20,000 people relocated from England.
a. 2 out of 3 went to the West Indies in the Caribbean.
2. Some 40,000 strong Caribbean Puritans then began importing slaves for sugar plantations.
3. In March of 1630 (just as an example) 11 ships, carrying 700 passengers had arrived in New England, doubling the region’s white population.
D. Massachusetts Bay Colony
1. As already mentioned, when John Winthrop was fired from his attorney job in the King’s courts, he became part of the Great Migration, delivering his famous Arabella sermon that introduced the “commonwealth principle” that was so important in shaping his new colony.
a. The Massachusetts Bay Company had convinced Winthrop to become the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Winthrop was the Governor for the next 19 years.
2. Winthrop’s long term role as Governor helped set the course for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
a. Because the colony was established as a commonwealth, it was a community that dedicated itself to working together for the good of the whole. Massachusetts settlers believed they had a covenant with
God to build a holy society.
E. Colonial New England Towns
1. In the Commonwealth, the basic unit was the Congregation (one church.)
a. Each congregation set up a town built around a common (a shared open field in which everyone grazed their livestock collectively.
b. Each town built a Meeting House which was the most important building in town. It was where Church took place and also where town meetings took place. Church attendance was mandatory for all community
members by law. The Meeting house had no heat, hard benches, and men and women had to sit in separate sections. Noise makers in Church or meetings would be punished.
c. At the Town meeting law making took place, wage setting, decisions about land grants to new settlers, as well as job recruitment, and decisions about public policies.
F. The New England Way
1. The “New England Way” was commonly referred to when community members were being punished for violating the strict beliefs, values, and practices about behavior in the society that was being built by the Puritans.
a. The New England Way emphasized duty, godliness, hard work, and honesty.
b. The NE Way depended upon education, relying on the Bible as the ultimate source of truth—thus, all should be able to read it. Laws therefore required that children be taught to read (but not write.)
c. According to the Puritans, dancing and amusements like playing games were forbidden because they could lead to laziness and sin.
2. Harvard College (founded to provide future ministers) was established in 1636.
3. The Massachusetts Puritans extended their influence by building churches farther and farther from Boston. Some even set up colonies independent of the Massachusetts Bay Colony:
a. In search of more fertile land, a minister named Thomas Hooker took his congregation in 1636 to the Connecticut valley. There he wrote and adopted new rules for his new colony. These rules were known as
the Fundamental orders of Connecticut. The rules were effectively the first constitution in the American colonies.
G. Challenges to Puritans
1. The Puritans definitely had a problem when it came to the freedom of religion question. The Puritans were a curious mix of freedom and repression, because they themselves had left England seeking religious freedom. Yet the
Puritans did not tolerate dissenters (people who challenged the views and or policies of a Church, society, government, or group.)
2. When Roger Williams, a minister from Salem said that the King of England had no right to just give away Indian lands, the Puritans were upset. However, when Williams claimed that government should have no control over religious matters, the Puritan legislature called the General Court and ordered Williams shipped back to England.
a. The original charter of the Massachusetts Bay colony had established the General Court, whereby all local communities were governed by their congregations, but under the guidance of the General Court. The
Governor and representatives were elected by the towns.
b. All adult male church members were considered freemen who had the right to vote in town matters.
c. The General Court in the Massachusetts Bay Colony placed a ban on all Anglicans, Baptists, and Quakers—torturing and even executing the latter.
3. When Williams learned of the order to ship him to England, he quietly slipped away to Narragansett Bay (where he was sheltered by the Narragansett Indians.)
4. In 1644, he came out with a book entitled The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution, in which he argued that “forced worship stinks in God’s nostrils.”
5. That same year, in 1644, Williams got a charter to create Rhode Island. A new colony was founded in Providence in 1636.
6. Another dissenter who took a different path than the Puritans was a woman named Anne Hutchinson. She had arrived in Boston in 1634.
a. Hutchinson inflamed the Puritans when she began to speak at weekly meetings, saying that a person could find inner truth and divine guidance without the help of the ministry.
b. For her actions, Hutchinson was tried for treason by the General Court. At the time of the trial, she was pregnant with her sixteenth child.
c. Hutchinson refused to recant her position, instead claiming that she was bound by direct revelations from God.
d. Hutchinson was banished from the colony.
7. In 1638, Hutchinson went to Rhode Island (Rogue Island) a refuge for all who were seeking freedom of religion.
8. Samuel Gorton and his followers were also banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and relocated to Narragansett.
H. Quakers Face Persecution
1. Years later the Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans are again challenged by a Puritan group that had arisen in England in the 1650s known as the Quakers.
a. Quakers believed that “all could know God directly through inner light.” They also believed that “all [were] equal before God,” and that neither ministers nor the Bible was needed to live a good Christian life, only one’s own relationship with God mattered.
2. The Quaker beliefs caused the Quakers to be persecuted in England and in the Massachusetts Colony. In Massachusetts harsh laws were passed against Quaker missionaries.
a. Authorities whipped Quakers and threw them in prison. They also cut off parts of their ears, and bored holes in their tongues with hot irons.
b. Eventually, officials began to hang Quakers in the Massachusetts colony.
3. Finally the King of England, Charles II ordered the practice of this sort of
persecution and execution stopped (he did so after a civil war in England ended in 1661.)
4. The Puritan Commonwealth of Massachusetts lasted about 60 years (from 1631
when the Colony was founded with Winthrop as its Governor, until 1691) when the King forced a new charter on Massachusetts.
a. The Puritans were no more pious or strict than others of their age, yet their ways seem harsh today. For example: only landed (people who owned land) church members could vote. Church attendance was mandatory, and sermons ran for 3 hours. In 1656 a sailor spent two hours in the stocks for kissing his wife in public on a Sunday (he had been away from home for 3 years.)
5. When the King’s new Charter for Massachusetts went into effect the Governor was chosen by the Crown (King) instead of being elected by Puritan church members in the colony.
a. At this point the right to vote in the colony also was changed. Instead of being tied to Church membership, it was tied simply to anyone who owned property. Thus, Massachusetts had to tolerate dissenters from this point on.
I. Indians Help Europeans
1. Often the initial contacts between Indians and Europeans brought benefits to both sides for a short while, especially with regard to items that were traded.
a. The Indians often valued steel knives, iron pots and European guns.
b. The English were grateful to trade these items for valuable Indian furs.
c. Often times wampum beads were used as currency in the Indian-European fur trade.
2. The survival of the Europeans clearly depended upon Indian goodwill initially.
a. The English learned about native plants and animals from the Indians, as well as how to employ Indian methods of farming, fur trapping, and woodland survival.
3. Once the English had already learned many of the lessons that they needed to survive effectively, they began to depend on the Indians less and less.
4. As the English depended on the Indians less, they began to pressure them more and more to give up portions of their land.
J. Frontier Warfare
1. Europeans and Indians defined land ownership differently.
a. According to the view held by the English in general a landowner completely controlled their own land.
b. According to the Indian view in general, there was an unlimited access to all natural resources—including land….they believed that no one could really own a piece of land itself.
2. Conflicts over land resulted in frontier warfare between the Indians and the white settlers in the Chesapeake region as well as the New England area.
a. In 1622 Opechancanough and the Powhatan Indians killed one-third (350) of Virginia’s colonists before they in turn were destroyed.
b. During the next ten years the Pequot Indians of the Connecticut Valley successfully resisted the Puritan attempts to invade their land.
* The Pequot were a proud people whose name meant “destroyers.” They, in fact, were trespassers on the lands of Narragansett.
c. However, by the end of the Pequot War in 1637, the Pequot had also been successfully destroyed.
* New England colonies used force, including some Narragansett, to massacre most of the Pequot. The rest were handed over to their Indian enemies or sold into slavery.
d. In 1675 the New England Wampanoag Indians went to war with the Puritan Colonies over the issue of land. The conflict was called King Philip’s War (King Philip was the name that the English gave
to Metacom (or Metacomet) the son of Massasoit. Metacom was the leader of Wampanoag.
* In relation to the size of the overall population in America at the time, it was one of the most deadly wars in American history. Over 4,000 Algonkians were killed, and over 2,000 English colonists. 1/6 of all the males in New England were killed.
* Roger Williams (the peace loving former minister of Salem, who had fled to Rhode Island) was caught in the middle of the conflict. He had been a long-time friend of the Indians, but was finally
forced to join on the side of the colonists.
* Williams had to watch while his house, and the town of Providence, Rhode Island was burned.
3. In the end, the English were able to defeat the New England Indians by destroying their cornfields and starving them into submission.
a. By August 1676, the severed head of Metacom was displayed in Plymouth. More than half the towns in New England had been wiped out. The Puritans had found themselves fighting with a cruelty they
thought only the natives were capable of. By the end, the settler’s sense of themselves as civilized people of God had been deeply shaken.
b. In addition, approximately 500 Indians, including Metacom’s wife and son were sold into slavery in the West Indies. Those left behind were forced onto reservations or to become laborers.
V. An Expanding Empire - The colonies that became part of England’s expanding American empire were different in many ways. Notice: How geographical factors influenced life in the Chesapeake Tidewater; how New Netherlands passed from Dutch to English rule; and which new English colonies were created.
A. The Chesapeake Tidewater
1. By 1632 (25 years after the founding of the Jamestown colony) Virginia’s population had reached 2,500. Tobacco sales had soared (1.5 million lbs. Exported to England in 1630.)
a. Part of their success is because the colonists had learned how to make the most of the geographical features of the Tidewater region. (A tidewater is a low lying coastal region with lots of rivers that are
affected by ocean tides.)
b. The tobacco plantations in the region were strung out along the rivers and waterways so that ships could come to the dock of each plantation and deliver manufactured goods from England, as well as
picking up the tobacco crop that the plantation wanted delivered to market in England.
c. Towns were hardly necessary, because there was no need for any place to buy or sell goods. However, the situation cut both ways.
d. Because the plantations were scattered, and the type of people on them tended, at least at first, not to be especially community oriented, it was extremely difficult for ministers to enforce the Church rules of behavior. Remember that the colonists were bound by the Church of England’s rules after King James dissolved the Virginia Company, and made Virginia a Royal colony under his direct control in 1624.
e. As a result, the Church had far less of an influence in the Chesapeake Tidewater than in New England.
f. In addition, life was exceptionally difficult in the region. All land had to be cleared before it could be planted. The tobacco crop used up the soil within 3-4 years.
g. Half of all children died. Those who made it to age 20, could still only expect to live about half as long as those in New England.
h. Finally, the thousands who came because there was so much need for laborers in the ever growing tobacco industry, were often convicts, or jobless people in search of a better life who had to come as
indentured servants, and were not in much of a position to participate in community building in the way that New Englanders were. Thus, the Virginia Colony remained a very different sort of place from the New
2. The Virginia Colony set the pattern for a new neighboring colony established by Lord Baltimore as a refuge for Catholics fleeing persecution in England (this was a relatively small number of people.
a. Established in 1634 the colony of Maryland needed to attract settlers in order to survive, so Lord Baltimore promised religious toleration to Protestants. During the Great Migration, thousands of
Puritans moved to Maryland and soon outnumbered the Catholics.
b. Baltimore, Maryland became a trading center for the tobacco plantations in the Chesapeake tidewater.
B. New Netherland
1. The colony of New Netherland (between the Chesapeake Tidewater and New England) was started in 1626 by the Dutch West India Company. The colony included the Hudson River valley, Long Island, and land along
the Delaware River.
a. The Dutch company had made their money from fur trading at Fort Orange (Albany), Fort Nassau (Gloucester, New Jersey), and New Amsterdam (New York City), but it had very few settlers.
b. In order to make it a “proper colony” the company decided to try to encourage settlers. The way they did this was with Dutch patroons.
c. Patroons were people who each brought 50 settlers to New Netherland. In exchange for bringing the settlers, the patroon got a large land grant called a patroonship along the Hudson River.
d. The patroonships were, in fact, large feudal estates. The patroon got special privileges in the colony with regard to hunting, fishing, and the fur trade. He also had almost complete power over the people on his patroonship (estate.)
e. In addition, because the colony had been eager to attract settlers from the start, they had welcomed all different kinds of people.
* African Indentured Servants had been included from the start--by 1660s 1/5 of New Amsterdam was African American.
* There were many Puritans there as well.
f. In 1647 a the Dutch company sent a new Governor, Peter Stuyvesant (nick-named “Peg leg Peter” because of his wooden leg.)
*Stuyvesant was a Christian who was suspicious of any non-Christians.
* In 1654 when a shipload of 23 Jewish settlers arrived, Stuyvesant wouldn’t allow them to disembark. Then he wrote to the company for advice, and they said, let them in—they have the same rights as any other settlers of New Netherland.
g. In 1655, Stuyvesant attached the neighboring colony of New Sweden because he wanted to expand his own colony. New Sweden was made up mostly of several fur trading posts in the Delaware Valley.
* After a 10-day siege by the Dutch, New Sweden surrendered Fort Christina to the New Netherland colony and gave up their holdings in America.
C. The Seizure of New Netherland
1. English colonization stopped in the mid 1600s as a result of civil war going on back in England.
a. The Civil War in England had started with a Puritan Rebellion against Charles I (a Stuart who married a Catholic bride).
b. The rebels defeated and beheaded Charles I in 1649, declaring England a “Commonwealth.”
c. This commonwealth was ruled by Oliver Cromwell, but he died in 1658.
d. The Puritans managed to rule England until 1660.
e. In 1660 Restoration occurred as Charles II reclaimed his father’s throne.
f. In 1661 Charles II ordered that religious persecution be stopped.
g. In 1664 Charles II wanted James (the Duke of York, and the brother of Charles II) to drive out the Dutch in America.
h. The Duke of York landed in August off of New Amsterdam, and they surrendered without a fight. The Duke then became the proprietor of New Netherland, and renamed it New York. The Duke was now the
largest landholder in America.
D. New Jersey and Pennsylvania
1. The Duke of York had so much land that he gave a province (New Jersey) to his friends Sir George Carteret and Lord John Berkeley.
a. New Jersey promised religious freedom, large land grants, and a representative assembly.
b. Charles II established several new such “proprietary colonies” (Maryland was also one of them) known as “restoration colonies” because the period in which the monarchy was reestablished was known as the
2. King Charles II also gave land to pay a debt to William Penn (repayment of a debt he had borrowed from Penn’s father years earlier.)
a. William Penn was a Quaker seeking refuge for Quakers from England.
b. Penn founded Pennsylvania in 1682.
* Quakers welcomed all religions and ethnicities. Their open-door policy would make Pennsylvania one of the wealthiest colonies.
* After settlement, Penn went to Germany to recruit settlers.
c. Later the Duke gave him more land that became Delaware.
d. In 1689 England sees the establishment of a Constitutional Monarchy.
E. The Carolinas and Georgia
1. The first Restoration Charter was issued in 1663, whereby 8 different Proprietors were given the land between Virginia and Spanish Florida as a debt to those who had helped Charles II. The colony was named Carolina.
a. Carolina got its name because it is the feminine form of Charles.
b. The first settlers built Charles Town (Charleston) in 1670.
c. Most Carolina settlers came from Barbados a Caribbean Colony that the English had founded in 1627. However, French Huguenots also came to Carolina escaping religious persecution when the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685.
2. In 1729 the Crown took over Carolina from proprietors, and the colony was divided into North and South (the Carolinas—or North Carolina and South Carolina.)
3. In 1732 one more colony was founded: Georgia. Georgia was regarded by the English as a military outpost and buffer against Spanish Florida.
a. The colony was founded by James Oglethorpe, who saw it as an opportunity to establish a model society. Oglethorpe brought artisans and former debtors’ prisoners to Georgia. Most got free passage and free land. In return, they had to produce silk and wine.
b. Oglethorpe had established strict rules in Georgia. He limited the amount of land each settler could hold. He outlawed trade with the Indians to avoid conflict. He also banned slavery and alcohol.
c. However, the rules were overturned in 1750 after the settlers complained.
d. Thus, when the silk and wine industries failed, settlers using slaves began growing rice and indigo.
e. With large plantations and slavery allowed, the colony grew rapidly.
f. It had taken only eight years into his experiment of establishing a model society, before Oglethorpe gave it up.