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Chapter 4: The Northern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, 1601-1700

Lecture to accompany the text The American Promise: A History of the United States Volume I to 1877

Jason Holloway

on 9 September 2014

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Transcript of Chapter 4: The Northern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, 1601-1700

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
Professor Holloway
Chapter 4: The Northern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, 1601-1700
What does the opening story suggest to us about the following chapter?
1. Puritans and the Settlement of New England
2. The Evolution of New England Society
3. The Founding of the Middle Colonies
4. The Colonies and the English Empire
5. Conclusion: An English Model of Colonization in North America
Who were the puritans and why were they important to the story of the Northern colonies?
In 1517 the Protestant Reformation began.
Henry VIII passed the Act of Supremacy in 1534 starting the English Reformation.
Why did Henry VIII start the reformation?
Why were many people unhappy with his policies?
Puritans wished for a complete break with Catholic tradition and object to many continuing practices in the Church of England.
There is a long period of instability in England due to religious troubles.
Mary I then Elizabeth I reflect these changes.
By the end of the Elizabethan era, the country is largely Protestant and that is a hallmark of English national identity.
Pilgrims are one of the first religious dissenter groups to emigrate.
They considered themselves separatists, what did this mean?
First emigrated to the Netherlands but this was not real successful.
Subsequently they received permission from the crown to immigrate to the Virginia colony.
In 1620 the Mayflower and 101 people arrive off the coast of what will be Massachusetts.
As a result of their unplanned landing they created the Mayflower Compact.
1/2 die during the first winter.
In the spring, Native Americans begin to assist the colonists out greatly.
Who was Squanto and why was he important to the colony's survival?
First thanksgiving occurs in the fall of 1621.
In 1629, the Puritans obtain a royal charter for the Massachusetts Bay Company.
The charter allows for substantial self-government in the future colony.
John Winthrop leads 700 colonists in 11 ships to found Boston in 1630.
How were the Puritans different than the Pilgrims?
At sea Winthrop offers his most famous sermon stating that "we must consider that we shall be a city on a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us."
New England would be dominated by strong religious sentiment throughout most of the 17th century.
The Massachusetts' colonists encounter few Native Americans.
Over the course of the first winter 200 colonists die.
A constant flow of colonists ensures the survival of the colony with 20,000 arriving between 1630-1640.
Whenever Puritan ministers have conflict in England they frequently migrate with their flock to the colonies.
New England has one of the highest rates of Preachers to population in all Christendom.
Some efforts are made to convert Native Americans but are not common nor very successful.
Migrants to New England are largely from the middle classes.
Indentured servants form just 20% of migrants in contrast to Virginia.
Frequently entire life savings are expended on the trip over.
Families are more likely to arrive together facilitating the religious structure of society.
In the Chesapeake region servitude and the tobacco market are dominate as opposed to the family, church and community environment in New England.
Revolutionary changes occur to the Puritan minority in England that likewise effects those in New England.
Disputes between King Charles I and Parliament led to the 1642-1649 English Civil War, also known as the Puritan Revolution.
Who wins the English Civil War and how does it effect the government of the country?
The shift in status of the Puritans essentially eliminates immigration to New England.
Times get increasingly tough as goods become more expensive.
2. The Evolution of New England Society, continued.
Puritans are a branch of protestants following Calvinism.
What is Calvinism and what is it most important doctrine?
Ultimately the belief of Puritans is that behavior is a sign of the elect.
They call these people visible saints.
All colonists are required to attend church services in order to be exposed to the word of God.
Strict moral codes are enforced and neighbors spy on neighbors.
Fines exist for Sunday activities or breaking public morality.
Christmas, Easter, or religious weddings are forbidden.
Cards, dice, music and dancing are also banned.
There are even from the beginning frequently dissidents.
Nonetheless the church and state are technically separate due to their experiences under the Church of England.
Puritanism is the dominant force in the early colony.
The social structure of small towns reinforces societal patterns and conformity.
The church is the structural crux of colonial culture here.
The early colony is governed by Puritans for Puritans.
The General Court is an representatvie body elected by first stockholders then church members.
Town Meetings originate out of this system.
Wide spread political participation exists though 'contrary-minded' people are exiled.
The General Court proportions land and generally peacefully manages purchase from Native American tribes.
Land is given with lots in town with a garden and then a farm on the outskirts.
As a result inequality is less vast than in Virginia.
In general the landscape and isolated segments of civilization further scare the religious colonists.
Even early on there is difficulty in maintaining Puritan unity.
The emphasis on individual bible study/interpretation ensured differing viewpoints.
Dissenters like Roger Williams are banished.
Who was Anne Hutchinson and what is her story?
Puritan church ultimately excommunicates Hutchinson as a heretic and banishes her.
Further disputes over church ideology leads Thomas Hooker and his followers to leave and found Connecticut.
Ultimately by 1700, Puritanism is still important but schisms and divisions were accelerating.
These changes lead to new and enduring economic patterns in New England.
Great cash crops are simply not possible.
Products like timber are one available option.
Additionally the other was fishing which stimulated ship-building and other commercial activities.
Population in the colonies still increases during this period.
After 1640-1650 church membership and religious zeal begins to decline.
There is not enough space for the entire population in all the churches of the colony.
"Horse-shed Christianity" develops, what does this mean?
Severe issues begin to occur over the status of the children of Puritans.
Baptized children grow up, do not officially convert and show few signs of being visible saints.
Further issues arise as the children begin having their own children.
In 1662, the Halfway Covenant is reached, what elements is the compromise based on?
Lukewarm piety ultimately replaces religious zeal as a result.
In the later half of the 17th century, the Quakers arrive who have radically different beliefs than the Puritans.
How do Quaker beliefs differ from Puritan ones?
Quakers are at times branded with the letter H symbolizing Heretic and a few are hanged in Boston.
Witch trials also occur throughout this period.
95% of Witch trials occur in New England hinting at the fundamentalist nature of society there.
In Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, 19 people are hanged and one is pressed to death, all accused of being witches.
Who were most of those accused?
All these ongoing affairs weakened the appeal of Puritan society by 1700.
In the last 1/3 of the 17th century the Middle Colonies are founded and settled.
Unlike the others the Middle Colonies attracted an extremely diverse population.
In 1609, Henry Hudson explores his namesake river for the Dutch.
In 1626, Peter Minuit bought Manhatten Island and New Amsterdam is founded as the capital of the New Netherlands.
Not many immigrants initially come to the New Netherlands.
Patroonship system is not successful in populating the colony.
All the same an exceptionally diverse population exists.
The Dutch West Indian Company controls the colony and it is ran by a director.
Why and how do the English take over the colony in 1664?
The Duke of York rules the colony thereafter through an appointed governor but continues the liberal settlement policies.
After the capture, the Duke divides his territory and gives some to others.
New Jersey is founded but disputes over ownership there leads to arbitration mediated by William Penn.
Who was William Penn?
Why were people so discriminatory against the Quakers?
In order to get rid of the Quakers the King gives Penn a colony in 1681.
Thousands of Quakers emigrate and other groups are also allowed to immigrate giving the colony a great amount of diversity.
By 1700, Philadelphia rivals New York and Boston as the commercial capitals of the colonies.
Penn's government deals fairly with Native Americans.
All Protestants and Catholics are allowed, there is no mandatory church attendance nor an established church.
The government still patrols moral behavior for the societal as a whole.
Government is controlled by a proprietor/governor, a council with property qualifications, and a popular assembly.
By 1701 the popular assembly has assumed the legislative powers of the colony.
Between 1660 and 1700, the English strengthen colonial trade ties.
The Mercantilist system is designed to support the Metropole and deprive other Europeans of potential trade.
The Navigation acts of 1650 and afterwords establish mercantilism in the colonies.
Why is Virginia so much more deeply impacted by these policies than the other colonial regions?
By 1700, the colonies provide 1/5 of all English imports, 2/3 of exported goods to Europe, and consume 1/10 of English exports.
The crown wants to assume a greater control over the colonies.
Why was the King Charles II hostile to the Puritan colonies?
The cause for government intervention arrives with King Philip's War.
Growing conflicts occur between New Englanders and Native Americans.
In 1675 problems escalate into open warfare in the west.
Thousands die on both sides and many settlements/villages are destroyed.
In 1676 Native Americans are raiding slightly outside Boston but eventually are pushed back through scorched earth tactics.
Later in 1676 the crown decides to investigate the recent attacks and see if royal laws are being followed by the colonists.
What does the crown decide to do as a consequence?
Many colonists are unhappy with the recent changes notably the affront to Puritan traditions and the invalidation of land titles.
Charles II dies in 1685, his heir and brother James II is a Catholic.
James son-in-law William III of Orange, ruler of the Netherlands, lands with Mary II and takes over the country in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
How were the New England colonies structured differently than the Southern Colonies?
What did the increasing number of dissenters lead to in the Puritan colonies?
Conflict with Native Americans started to occur more frequently after 1650.
During the next century the colonies would grow rapidly and were increasingly diverse.
High standards of living continued to increase and religious passions muted allowing a secular society to develop.
In 1689 rebels in the colonies seize control of the government and reestablish the old colonies.
The crown executes some rebels as it reasserts control and establishes royal control in again separated colonies.
As part of the new government, governors are now appointed not elected and property qualifications are firmly put in place.
Many are unhappy with the increased royal control but accept it as threats grow from the French in New France.
King Williams War ending in 1697 is the first of many 18th century wars with France demonstrating the increasing colonial dependence on England's military.
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