Chapter 3 (13th)

Settling the Northern Colonies

  1. The Protestant Reformation Produces Puritanism
    1. 1517, Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation when he nailed his “95 Theses” on the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral. Luther had several challenges to the Roman church. The most basic of Luther’s ideas were …
      1. The Bible or scripture alone was the source of God’s word (not the Bible and the church or pope).
      2. People are saved by grace alone from God (salvation comes as an undeserved gift from God, not by earning it or deciding to be saved).
      3. People are saved simply by faith in Christ alone (not by any “good works” the person might’ve done).
    2. John Calvin preached Calvinism that stressed “predestination” (those going to Heaven or hell has already been determined by God).
      1. Basic Christian doctrine was outlined in a 1536 document “Institutes of the Christian Religion.”
        1. It said people were sinful.
        2. It said only the predestined would go to Heaven.
      2. A Calvinist expected to see signs of predestination in a person’s life. The person was to have an outward conversion, recognized by others who’d been saved.
      3. An odd irony was created: predestination was very clear about Heaven and hell. But, it created a question as to who’s on what side?
        1. The reasoning went: if a person lives a sinful life, then obviously he’s predestined to hell. If he lives a pious life, then he’s predestined to Heaven.
        2. Calvinists are famous for working hard, dusk to dawn, to “prove” their worthiness.
        3. The impact of Calvinism has been vividly stamped on the psyche of Americans, and been called the “Protestant Work Ethic.”
    3. For personal reasons, King Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church in the 1530s. He started the Protestant Church of England.
    4. The Puritans vs. the Pilgrims
      1. A group of English called Puritans were moved to reform (“purify”) the Church of England. This is the point that separates Puritans from Pilgrims.
      2. Believed that only “visible saints” should be admitted to church membership.
      3. By contrast, the Pilgrims were Separatists. They vowed to break away from the Church of England (AKA the Anglican Church) because the “saints” would have to sit with the “damned.”
        1. King James I harassed the Separatists out of England. His reasoning was that if this group of people were willing to defy him as their spiritual leader, they might also defy him as their political leader.
        2. King James I is the king for whom the King James Bible is named.
        3. There’s irony here in that the Separatists claimed King James’ Church of England had strayed from the Bible, and they likely had. Yet the “King James Bible” quickly became accepted as being a very accurate translation, and still is considered so.
  2. The Pilgrims End Their Pilgrimage at Plymouth
    1. The Pilgrims, as Separatists, wanted to completely break away from the Church of England.
      1. They first moved to Holland with intentions of simply living there.
      2. Then they decided they’d have to move since their children were growing up Dutch. This was understandable, of course, but they wanted their kids to grow up English.
      3. They sought a location with English traditions where they’d be free to worship in their own way—America was the logical place.
    2. They struck a deal with the Virginia Company and set sail from Holland aboard the Mayflower.
      1. One person was born on the trip and one died.
      2. They were supposed to head to Virginia, but arrived off of the coast of New England in 1620.
      3. Wisely, the Pilgrims carefully surveyed for possible sites. Plymouth was chosen.
      4. Leadership and security against Indians would come to be provided by Captain Myles Standish, known as “Captain Shrimp.”
    3. Since they were in a land where they had no legal right to settle, steps had to be taken.
      1. Before leaving the ship, the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, where they agreed to make and live by new rules.
      2. This was the first form of self-government in New England and laid the foundation that America would be run by Americans.
    4. The winter of 1620-21 was brutal to the Pilgrims. By spring, only 44 out of the 102 were still alive.
    5. Unlike the Jamestown settlers, who had a similar first winter and wanted to return to England in the spring, the Pilgrims were determined to stay.
      1. They worked and prayed diligently the following year, gained some help and seeds from friendly Massasoit Indians, and grew a bountiful harvest—the first Thanksgiving.
      2. William Bradford, was selected as governor of the Plymouth colony 30 times in annual elections.
    6. Plymouth began humbly, but survived.
      1. Its economy was based on fur trapping, fishing, and lumber.
      2. Plymouth never grew large, and in 1691, it merged with the much larger Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  3. The Bay Colony Bible Commonwealth
    1. A group of Puritans were given a royal charter in 1629. This would become the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
      1. The charter was brought to America and used it like a constitution.
      2. This was another first step toward self-government made in Massachusetts.
    2. The Puritans came in much larger numbers than the Pilgrims—about 11,000 Puritans.
      1. The Puritans were well-equipped and industrious people.
    3. Similar to Plymouth, the Bay Colony enjoyed good leadership, stability, and growth.
      1. There governor, John Winthrop, was elected for 19 years.
      2. The colony thrived and grew with an economy based on fur trading, fishing, and shipbuilding.
  4. Building the Bay Colony
    1. The Bay Colony was a “Bible Commonwealth”—a democracy run on Biblical principles.
      1. The franchise (right to vote) was quickly given to all “freemen.” Freemen were adult men who were members of the congregation (later called the Congregational Church).
      2. Non-church member men, and all women, were excluding from voting.
        1. There was the belief that the common man was incapable of voting wisely. Governor Winthrop called democracy the “meanest and worst” form of government.
        2. Puritans also wanted to retain government control in the hands of the church—hence the rule of church membership. Gaining church membership, by the way, only occurred when the church members voted you in.
      3. All told, this meant that roughly 40% of adult men could vote. This number may seem low by today’s standards (only 40% of men and 0% of women), but it still was larger than percentages back in Europe.
    2. The most noteworthy Puritan preacher was John Cotton. He’d been educated at Cambridge, criticized the Church of England, and then emigrated to Massachusetts.
    3. The Bible Commonwealth had its ways…
      1. Sermons, like those by John Cotton, were stern but moving, and clearly drew the line of right and wrong, Heaven and hell, saints and sinners.
      2. Local congregations could hire or fire their local pastor as they chose, (this is why they’re called “Congregational).”
      3. There was a strict moral code to uphold right and wrong. For example, one couple was fined 20 shillings for kissing in public.
      4. The devil, sin, and hell were very real, very serious, easily fallen into, and had to be constantly guarded against.
        1. Michael Wigglessorth wrote “Day of Doom” and sold one copy for every 20 people.
  5. Trouble in the Bible Commonwealth This content copyright © 2010 by
    1. In such a tightly strung society, tension quickly came to Massachusetts.
    2. Quakers challenged Puritan authority and were given fines, floggings, or banishment.
    3. Anne Hutchinson was an outspoken woman who challenged predestination.
      1. Her theory, called antinomianism, argued that if there was predestination, then a person’s actions were immaterial (because the saints and sinners were already determined). This was heresy.
      2. This struck hard at the Puritans because…
        1. This challenged political control—Why follow government rules/laws if it doesn’t matter?
        2. This challenged religious control—Why follow church rules/laws if it doesn’t matter?
        3. Women were not supposed to question authority and certainly not to speak out.
      3. She was put on trial in 1638, and claimed to have received these revelations from God—even higher heresy.
      4. Hutchinson was banished and moved to startup Rhode Island where religious freedom was new and favorable.
      5. Hutchinson was eventually killed by Indians in New York. John Winthrop said that “God’s hand” was involved in her death.
    4. Roger Williams was a young, outspoken preacher who sought a clean break with the Church of England. His ideas quickly got him into trouble, including…
      1. Questioning the Bay Colony charter’s legality.
      2. Questioning dealings with the Indians.
      3. Questioning whether the church could run people’s lives and the government. He had to go.
      4. In 1635, he was banished for “newe & dangerous opinions.”
  6. The Rhode Island “Sewer”
    1. Roger Williams’ differing religious views got him into trouble in Massachusetts. So, he started Rhode Island.
    2. “Little Rhody” grew attractive to the “otherwise minded.” That is, anyone that didn’t fit into Massachusetts’ tight-laced religious society.
    3. Rhode Island thus attracted a variety of people with nothing in common except a desire for independence. This strain of independence became their point of unity.
    4. The colony was officially chartered in 1644.
  7. New England Spreads Out
    1. A new colony was founded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1635.
      1. Reverend Thomas Hooker quickly led a group into Connecticut. This group was attracted as much by the Connecticut River’s good farmland than by religious reasons.
      2. In 1639, Connecticut settlers drew up the “Fundamental Orders,” America’s first written constitution.
        1. This document later became a model for the U.S. Constitution.
      3. In 1638, the colony of New Haven was established. It later joined Connecticut.
    2. In 1623, Maine was annexed by Massachusetts.
      1. Maine remained part of Massachusetts for nearly 150 years.
    3. In 1641, New Hampshire was annexed by Massachusetts.
      1. New Hampshire remained part of Massachusetts until 1679 when the king separated it.
  8. Puritans Versus Indians
    1. White diseases had made their mark even before the Pilgrims’ arrival in 1620. Disease had then struck the Indians, killing an estimated ¾ of the population.
    2. Initial relations with the natives were friendly.
      1. A Wampanoag named Squanto befriended and helped the struggling settlers.
      2. A white—Wampanoag peace agreement was signed.
      3. This treaty, along with the first Thanksgiving, became the standard symbolic of good white—Indian relations and gave hope for good relations in the future.
    3. In 1637, relations deteriorated when the Pequot War erupted.
      1. Incidents began to ripple through New England as more and more English settlers moved in.
      2. The war raged when whites wiped out a Pequot village on the Mystic River in Connecticut.
      3. All told, the Pequots were nearly wiped out as a tribe. White—Indians relations had turned for the worse and would largely stay that way.
        1. After criticism of the attack, Puritans attempted to convert Indians to Christianity.
    4. Aside from disease, disunity was the Indians top weakness.
      1. In 1675, Massasoit’s son Metacom (known as King Philip by the English) attempted to unite local Indian tribes.
      2. Metacom and his warriors attacked English villages, usually on the frontier.
        1. The so-called King Philip’s War lasted two years and was very bloody and destructive.
        2. His wife and son were sold into slavery.
        3. He finally suffered a complete defeat when his village was surrounded and destroyed. He was beheaded and drawn-and-quartered. His head rested on a pike in Plymouth, on display for years.
  9. Seeds of Colonial Unity and Independence
    1. In 1643, the New England Confederation was set up.
      1. It consisted of 4 colonies and held the main goal of defense.
      2. The colonies were Puritan only (Bay Colony, Plymouth, New Haven, and scattered Connecticut settlements).
      3. The confederation was weak but noteworthy in that it was a large step toward American unity.
    2. The colonies were basically allowed to be semi-autonomous commonwealths.
    3. Charles II, after being restored to the British throne, intended to tighten his control over the colonies.
      1. He was surprised to find how deeply independence had begun to run in the American colonies, especially in Massachusetts.
      2. As a slap-in-the-face to Massachusetts, the king gave Connecticut a sea-to-sea charter in 1662; then also charted lowly Rhode Island in 1663.
      3. Even more embarrassingly, Massachusetts’ charter was revoked in 1684.
  10. Andros Promotes the First American Revolution
    1. In 1686, the Dominion of New England was created as an arm of the king. It’s goals were to (a) to strengthen colonial defense against the Indians and, more importantly, (b) to regain control by England over America by enforcing the Navigation Acts.
      1. The Navigation Acts limited American trade to within the British Empire exclusively.
      2. Resultant, smuggling flourished.
      3. Sir Edmund Andros headed the Dominion.
        1. He established headquarters in the “trouble-area” of Boston.
        2. He was openly associated with the Church of England—much despised by the Puritans.
        3. His soldiers spoke profanities and drank heavily. Puritanical Boston was nonplussed.
      4. Andros was quick to lay the law: he curbed town meetings, placed restrictions on courts the press, and schools. He revoked land titles. He rid the local assemblies and taxed the people without any representation.
      5. At this time, William and Mary were handed the British throne in the Glorious Revolution.
        1. This effectively pulled the rug out from underneath Andros and the Dominion.
        2. The Dominion of New England fell apart.
        3. Andros dressed like a woman and tried to sneak away, but his boots betrayed him beneath his dress.
    2. Changed did come, though not as the Puritans had hoped.
      1. Massachusetts gained a new charter, but their pride had been stung.
      2. With the new charter, all male property owners could vote, not church members exclusively, as it had been. This was a step for democracy, but a step backward for the “Bible Commonwealth.”
  11. Old Netherlanders at New Netherland
    1. In the late 1500s, the Netherlands rebelled and, with British help, won her independence from Spain.
    2. The 1600s were the Golden Age for the Dutch. They set out to make themselves a world power, not military so much as economically.
    3. They set up the Dutch East India Company to trade with the world and rival the British.
      1. For protection, the company built army of 10,000 men and a fleet of 190 ships. 40 of these ships were men-of-war.
      2. The East India Company did most of its business in the Spice Islands of Indonesia (the East Indies).
    4. The Dutch West India Company operated in the Caribbean (the West Indies).
      1. The West India Company was much smaller and weaker.
      2. They found it easier and profitable to do as much raiding as trading.
    5. Explorer Henry Hudson sought new areas. He sailed into Delaware Bay and then New York Bay, then up the Hudson River. He claimed the area for the Dutch. New Netherland was born.
      1. The Dutch West India Company bought the island of Manhattan from local Indians in exchange for a few trinkets.
      2. New Amsterdam was set up as a company town—a trading post at the mouth of the Hudson River. It’s goal was to trade, turn a profit, and benefit stockholders.
    6. To encourage settlement, patroonships (large tracts of land) were awarded to promoters who’d settle 50 people in the colony.
      1. As a result of these large patroonships, New Amsterdam developed an aristocratic flavor.
    7. New Amsterdam attracted a mix of people (unlike Massachusetts).
      1. A French Jesuit missionary recorded 18 different languages being spoken in the city.
  12. Friction with English and Swedish Neighbors
    1. The Dutch were cruel to the Indians and the Indians fought back.
      1. A wall was built across the northern edge of the post to fend off Indians. The street along the wall became Wall Street.
    2. New England also didn’t like the Dutch settlers, considering them trespassers.
    3. The Dutch, in turn, considered the Swedes trespassers when New Sweden was established on the Delaware River. It never amounted to much.
      1. The Dutch sent Peter Stuyvesant down to get rid of the Swedes. The one-legged Stuyvesant’s took the main Swedish fort without bloodshed. New Sweden had ended barely after it’d begun.
      2. New Sweden left its mark in the form of place names, the log cabin, and a mix of some Swedish blood.
  13. Dutch Residues in New York
    1. In 1664, the Duke of York, Charles II’s brother, was granted the area New Netherland area.
      1. To solidify the claim, a British fleet appeared off of New Amsterdam and Peter Stuyvesant was forced to surrender without a shot.
      2. New Netherland was over.
    2. New York was the new name for New Amsterdam.
    3. The Dutch left their mark in the forms of…
      1. The aristocratic flavor of New Netherland/New York.
      2. Place names such as Harlem (Haarlem), Brooklyn (Breuckelen), and Hell Gate (Hellegat).
      3. 'Gambrel' architecture (a barn shaped roof, modeled after the gambrel or back leg of a horse).
      4. And also, the Dutch left the traditions of Easter eggs, Santa Claus, waffles, sauerkraut, bowling, sleighing, skating, and golf (kolf).
  14. Penn’s Holy Experiment in Pennsylvania
    1. The Quakers
      1. They’re called “Quakers” because they shook or quaked when moved by religious emotion.
      2. They clashed with religious and civil rule because they refused to pay taxes that would go to the Church of England.
      3. They met in simple meeting houses without a formal preacher, and simply spoke up when so moved.
      4. They called one another as “thee” or “thou,” like the King James Bible.
        1. They’d take no oaths since Jesus instructed, “Swear not at all.” This posed problems since people were supposed to swear to “test oaths” that they weren’t Roman Catholic.
      5. They were peaceful people who despised war and would “turn the other cheek” to violence.
      6. To some they appeared stubborn; perhaps they were, but they were devoted to their faith.
    2. William Penn was a well-born Englishman attracted to the Quaker faith..
      1. In 1681, he was awarded a large tract of land by the king.
      2. The tract would come to be “Pennsylvania” meaning “Penn’s woodland.” Being modest, he disliked this name, but it stuck.
      3. Pennsylvania was the best-advertised colony. It attracted many people and prospered.
  15. Quaker Pennsylvania and Its Neighbors
    1. The colony officially began in 1681, but there were already thousands of squatters on the land.
    2. Philadelphia, the “city of brotherly love,” was carefully planned out, which was unusual. It enjoyed wide boulevards and planned streets.
    3. Penn tried to deal justly with the Indians. He bought large tracts from Chief Tammany, patron saint of the later Tammany Hall.
      1. Penn’s Indian relations were so good that Quakers could walk unarmed through Indian territory.
      2. But, Quaker good-will would be taken advantage of. Less-idealistic folks treated the Indians as savages, most notably, the rough Scots-Irish.
    4. There were good reasons for the appeal of Pennsylvania…
      1. Freedom of religion was allowed to all except Jews and Catholics.
      2. The death penalty was allowed only for murder or treason.
      3. The Quakers didn’t like slavery. They were the first group to formally take a stand against slavery.
      4. Immigration was unrestricted and naturalization was easy.
        1. Combined with good land, a friendly attitude, free religion, etc., Pennsylvania was very attractive to a wide variety of people.
        2. Virginia was the only colony with more people and more money by 1700.
    5. Penn himself was not much appreciated in Pennsylvania.
      1. His friendliness toward the deposed Catholic king James II made him unpopular with Americans.
      2. He was at times jailed for treason or debt.
      3. He suffered a stroke and died a paralytic, full of sorrow.
    6. Next-door neighbors New Jersey and Delaware also prospered.
  16. The Middle Way in the Middle Colonies
    1. The Middle Colonies consisted of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
    2. They all held fertile soil and large tracts of land.
    3. They all, excepting Delaware, exported grain and thus were known as the “bread colonies.”
    4. Useful rivers tapped into the heart of the colonies…the Susquehanna, Delaware, and Hudson reached into fur lands.
    5. The Middle Colonies held a mix of New England and Southern colonies.
      1. They were, of course, geographically in the middle.
      2. Landholdings were of the midsize range—smaller than the South but bigger than New England.
      3. They were more ethnically mixed than other colonies—more mixed than the South and much more than New England.
      4. They had a mixed economy—agriculture like the South, and the beginnings of industry and trade as in the North.
    6. Benjamin Franklin, became the premier child of Philadelphia, and America. He’d come to Philly at 17, immediately felt at home, and through hard work and diligence, began to work his way up.
      1. Franklin’s story of rags-to-riches became symbolic of America.
      2. Americans began to realize they weren’t just surviving, but thriving.
  17. Makers of America: The English
    1. The population of England was mushrooming in the 1600s. People had to move somewhere.
    2. ¾ of the English came as indentured servants. Mostly young men from the “middling classes.” They largely came to the Chesapeake to work on the plantations.
      1. Some came due to the decline in the wool trade.
      2. Some came after being forced out by “enclosure” of the land.
    3. An estimated 40% died before the end of their servitude—unhealthy conditions being the culprit
    4. By the late 1600s, a switch began from white indentured servant labor to black slave labor. The idea was that slave labor, being permanent, was more economically sound.
    5. Late in the 17th century, as the supply of indentured servants slowly ran out, the southerners resolved to employ black slaves.
    6. In New England, mostly during the 1630s, Puritans swarmed to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
      1. The Puritans came as family units, not so much as single men.
      2. They brought with them the traditions or varied the flavor of their local communities, which could vary substantially.
        1. For instance, Marblehead, MA became an exclusive fishing village.
        2. Rowley, MA became a textile town (as had been their village back in England).
        3. Ipswich, MA saw leaders rule with an iron hand whereas Newbury, MA saw leaders rarely win a reelection.

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Except for the 11th edition American History pages, the content of this site is copyright © 2010 by and may not be copied or redistributed. It is protected at