Puritans and Pilgrims

New England Colonisation



1608 french in Quebec first northern colony

1618-20 Epidemic decimates 75-90% of coastal indian tribes n- Gods way of clearing the ground (wba)

1620 Mayflower pilgrims at Plymouth

1629 Massachusetts Bay Company founded

1629 - 30 Massachusetts Bay Colony founded with Winthrop an 1100 settlers

1630-60 25000 settlers arrive in New England

1633 Mas settlers move inland - leads to friction with Pequot Indians

1635 Roger Williams banished from colony

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Time line cont

1637 Anne Hutchinson banished from colony

1637 War with Pequot

1642 MB orders all parents to provide children with religious instruction

1651 Praying towns for indians

1662 Halfway covenant

1675-6 King Philip's War - Metacom

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John Winthrop

John Winthrop 1587 - 1649

Leader of MBC and first governor.  Made speach/writings - city on a hill'.  12 annual terms as govenor and seen as moderating force.

According to Jennings, Winthrop falsifies documents inc treaties with Indians

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Roger Williams

Preacher arrived MBC in 1629

Wanted a full split from Anglican church

Insisted Winthrop (civil) could not interfere in church affairs

Sympathetic to Indians - questioned by what right King could give away Indian lands.  Noticed how Indians environment was damaged by settlers - pigs destroying clam beds.

Who Built america says he is teh father of American tradition of free consience

Is banished and goes to found Rhode Island with corporate status and with religious toleration.

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Anne Hutchinson

Antimonian views - predestination, contrary to majority beliefs but is influential inc with current govenor Henry Vane.

Ultimatley Winthrop and Puritans banish her in 1637

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More who's who

King Philip - Metacom  leader of the Wampanoag Tribe

Miaintonomo - Vhief of Narragansetts - executed by Moghegans at request of English 1643

Thomas ****** - Establishes settlement at Connecticut

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Causes of Tension

Religious -Puritans believed in the strength of the individual but caused problems when dealing with strong willed indiviudals like hutchinson and Williams

Not all colonists were devout puritans

New hostile world from a stable society in England - where every man knew his state

First winter where 200 + died plus 200 fled at end of winter

Differences in wealth.  Winthrop has servants - buried 7 in the first winter

Winthrop rewrites and falsifies documents including treaties with the indians.  - Jennings Historian


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Tensons 2

Indians - wheter Williams an isolated case but implies there was some disquite about treatment of indians

Peuquot Wars - Thomas ****** and congregation, no sympathy with Williams or Hutchinson but did not like the arbitrary actions of the general court.  ****** migrates to Hartford and triggers tesnions with the Peuquots - murder of 2 English Traders.  Mass authorities want to try offenders under English law.  Peuquots refused as they were equals and not subject to English law.  Peuquots tried to ally with the Narragansett but N allied with English  - massacre 500 killed in village, larger group trapped in swamp - men killed rest to slavery.

Relationship between English and natives deteriorated - English began demanding tribute and saying Indians could not go to war without permission

Miantonomo tries to create alliance of indians but fails and is executed

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English and Indians

English and Indians lived as Neighbours.  Indians learned English.  Life was not improving for native Americans.

Livestock driving out the game in traditional hunting grounds - forcing indians to become sedentary farmers - but the=n English pigs wreaked havoc in Indian cornfields.  Indians became dependent of supplies from English - became subject to English law - ultimately they became a colonised people

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Tensions Challenges from England

Realisation in 1634-7 that MBC was not legally registered in England. @trick by founders that sneaked in a clause past king and parliament saying HQ could be in the new world not England

Apparent that MBC was not follwoing English laws - arbitrary justice dispensed by the general court 'operating under the law of Moses'

Non church members were discriminated against

Civil war in england kept English authorities out of Mass business

Crown tries to enforce navigation acts

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Stable Society

New Englanders were committed to church- this leads to a stable society and civic participation

High proportion of settlers in 30s on arrival and few children.  Used to working hard and had left established  trades in England.  Had children when in Mass.  Chioldren survived to Adulthood - many families 6-8 children

Subsistence farming > fishing led to boat and eventually ship building industry.

Churches built and towns increased in size and number

Mixed colonists men and women.  Not totally profit driven. Strict rules of behaviour, church and faith, peaceful Indians, Town and community rather than isolated farms as in Chesapeake.  Political involvement, Family life, LOVING WATCHFULNESS

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Tensions - Religious Decline

2nd generation showed land hunger

Winthrop's son involved commercial speculation and helped to find new towns

Pynchon Family of Springfield controlled most of town

The puritan was being replaced by the Yankee

BUT was this materialism a reflection of religious zeal or the product of it.  Early puritan work ethic had spurred a slow and steady economic expansion

rules about only members being allowed as participants were unpopular > relaxation of rules that allowed non freeman to participate in society as Constables, Jurors etc

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Tensions Religious Decline

Historians ask if Mass was in religious decline.  BUT contemporaries also asked and feared it was. Why?

1. Puritan movement had become less cohesive and less influential in England after restoration

2. Crown in 1665 issued a report recommending legal changes including religious toleration 

3. Growing visibility of dissenters including Baptists

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Tensions Religios Decline 2 half way covenant

4. Next generation - number of young people seeking full church membership had declined.  Children of non church members could not become members >

1662 -Half way Covenant which permitted the baptism of children even if parents were not members - but many churches refused to implement these reforms as it undermined the fundamental standards of puritanism.

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Tensions V Indians

Jan 1675.  3 of King Philip's men were tried and executed for murder of a christian Indian. > war = Indians of many tribes worked together = much brutality on both sides Iroquois eventually sided with English despite initial success of Indians

Fallout of War

Proof of God's Anger

one out of 15 men of military age killed amongst English, Indians fared worse

Indians reduced to remnant communities and sold into slavery

Clearing of coastal areas for exclusive white settlement

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So dreadful a judgement

The war was a result of the encroachment onto Indian land and way of life and was inevitable and mirrored simialr uprisings/wars in Chesapeake and elsewhere BUT puritans such as Increase Mather blamed it as a fall from Grace

19th C Historiography Parkman - shaped the view of savage Indian and noble Puritan

20th Jennings explored a more duplicitous Puritan scheming to get land.  Jennings says Protestant elite could be 2 faced on a good day and duplicitous on a bad one.

leaders seek to retain power by not showing original charter

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A city on a hill can not be hidden

Voted, that the earth is the Lords

Voted, that the earth is given to the saints

Voted. that we are the saints

Model of Christian Charity

A more godly community

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Slotkin and Foulson + Jennings Historiography

King Philips War pushed the colony to the brink of collapse. Half the towns in New England severely damaged, 12 completely destroyed - the work of a generation to restore the  frontier districts.  Spent nearly £100k on the war bring it to the edge of bankruptcy

For the new chosen people - why had God abandoned them.  Was it withdrawal of his sanction from th puritans or was it just a warning.  

For Slotkin and puritan defenders the war is caused by social crisis,

For Jennings war is caused by greed

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Stable Society - measure of success

Over 40 years the consensus is that a society of harmony and order and suppressed discontent and individualism

Cohesion: had to go to church, had to pay tithes

Community of villages and towns

Political involvement

Family groups

Low mortality - high birth rate

The role of the Father - paternalistic

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Use of non elite sources to discover puritan history

Winthrop's ******'s writings have all been poured over as has the law showing how authority exuded into every feature of puritan life BUT

the fact laws were necessary implies all is not good.  - law requiring settlers to build houses within half a mile of agencies of social control - also implies that some people did not.  - same with law saying children need to be given religious instruction.

Puritan ideal of compact or covenant with society - was it ever true.  Rutman muses that ties to the traditional vestments of authority - church wardens, manor stewards, Justice of the Peace - were  weak - new people were appointed but lacked sanctity of long familiarity

Example town of sudbury where bickering led to founding of new town and church was unable to resolve dispute

Boston - towns people wanted divison of land - feared that elites would divide it it favour of them selves so voted out elites .   

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Rutman cont

demand for indivual land.

Butin Boston in 1640s turning more to trade individuals realised wealth could be made by trade so land not so essential

Puritanism was idealogical and teh reality was sometimes different.

Elites writings show teh ideals but Rutman argues the man in the village lane did what he must

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Who Built America

Migrants to the northern colonies never had to live within a system whose basis was out right exploitation.

Life expectancies were higher in Mass than Europe

Nantucket Island Natives 1600 = 2500   1800 = 22

Puritan traders advanced coveted goods to indians and when they couldn't pay of their debts they were made to work as seamen on whaleboats.  Indians could never earn enough to pay of debts and were trapped in cycle of debt and forced labour.


Micmacs - traded beaver but then with guns **** of hunting and destruction to supply demand = no beavers

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Metacom - paid a heavy price.

Iroquois.  Had formed a confederacy before white arrival.  Numbers estimated at 10,000 at beginning of 17th c. Iroquois were able to exploit differences between settlers until revolution.  Were skilled diplomatically.

Mary Rowlandson's account of capture by indians - first of many captive narratives which portrayed captivity as a test of puritan faith.

Invaders wanted to change the land - clear forests, fence in fields, build houses and barns, churches and stores.  Plant European crops, Raise sheep and cattle.  They wanted to make America look like Europe.

Imported pigs roamed freely - but Settlers fields were fenced but indians fields were not > led to destruction

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WBA 3 Land

Different concepts of land ownership

Europeans = if land not cleared then not owned.

Indian understanding of land ownership was collective.

Indians selling the land to setters meant they were sharing the right to use it.

Settlements developed in different ways:

Sudbury = open field system, individuals owned strips according to a percieved need which was decided by the town elders.  Ploughing and sowing done as a group.  Worked because avoided landlord and tenant and feudalism = Christian or closed utopian communities

Springfield - came under a single landowner Pynchon.

There were the 'River Gods' men whose influence, power and standing made them the elites

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WBA Land 2

But according to WBA whilst it was impossible to maintain the religious intensity of the early settlers the founders vision of a society living in peace and harmony persisted long after open fields had been forgotten.

Most settlers ended up growing surpluses > led to them being enmeshed in the great web of commerce which spread overseas > to soem extent same problems as Indians

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Colonial America

Grants of lands issued to congregations  = then divided

Puritan ministers were effectively independent from oversight of Bishops

Puritans who founded Mass were more committed than most colonisers to creating order and stability (consistent with their beliefs)

Church membership = process of proving you were suitable for membership.  God alone could save, examination by congregation/interrogators that the holy spirit had entered your soul.

Remember many settlers were not puritans.  How to maintain control  - initially only the saints could participate in public a fairs or vote.  Winthrop et al put in laws against gaming, blasphemy, sexual misconduct, excessive drinking, theatre etc.

Was it a theocracy?  Prob not as civil affairs were separate. but dividing line sometimes thin

When Winthrop tried to impose tighter control there were challenges to his rule

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Colonia America Metacom's War

In the end Philip and his allies were defeated because the united colonies with a popn of 70,000 were better bale to fight a sustained and total war.

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