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Massachusetts Bay Colony

An examination of one of the original American Colonies.
by

John Cunha

on 14 September 2010

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Transcript of Massachusetts Bay Colony

When and Why Was Massachusetts Bay Colony Established? Remember: Puritan and Pilgrim are not synonymous.
England was in great turmoil in the 1620's, a turmoil that was both religious and political. As evidence of a power stuggle, King Charles I disbanded Parliament and ruled on his own for a number of years. Among the victims of this struggle were the Puritans who were thought of as "religious dissenters."
In 1628, a group of Puritans formed the Governor and Company of Massachusetts, similar in some respects to the Virginia Company.
The New England Council gave the Puritans a land grant for the area between the Charles and Merrimack Rivers and west to the Pacific. The Puritans also recieved a charter from the king, who was not aware of their religion.
In 1628 and 1629 preliminary voyages were made, resulting in the establishment of a small Cape Ann colony and Salem. In 1630, Governor John Winthrop led 1,000 colonists to America, beginning the long history of Massachusetts. How Did People Earn A Living? Life in Massachusetts Bay Colony was all based on geography.
If you were a colonist living in coastal towns like Gloucester or Boston, you worked mainly in fishing or shipbuilding.
If you were a colonist living farther inland, you depended on farming which was extremely difficult due to rocky terrain and hills.
The thick forest of this terrain led to the establishment of a strong lumber industry, as well as trapping and hunting.
Additional trades included that of the cooper, or barrel maker, blacksmith, weaver, seamstress, and cabinetmaker. MASSACHUSETTS BAY COLONY Social Classes -Upper class-
Clergy, Magistrates, Professors, men of distinguished Professions -Middle Class-
Traders, shopkeepers, farmers
(the majority of colonists fell into this class, making it as close to a middle class as there was in the colony) -Lower Class-
Indentured slaves, african slaves, slaves of other ethnicities Government Due to the Cambridge Agreement made by the shareholders of the Massachusetts Bay Company, which ensured that Massachusetts be a completely self governing colony answerable only to the king, the Massachusetts General Court was established in 1630.
The first meeting of this Court was attended by only eight men. It was voted there that all legislative, executive, and judicial power be given to a council of the governor's assistants (by no coincidence those same eight men).
Due to obvious concerns with this system, it was later changed in 1634. Now, the General Court was made up of two delegates elected by each town, the governor's council, and the governor himself.
With this change began an early form of democratic government. Religion Religion was one of the primary factors in the founding of Massachusetts Bay Colony and thus it was crucial to colonists' daily lives.
The influence of religion can be found everywhere in the colony's history.
An important example of this was the first code of laws written for the colony in 1638. Penned by Reverend John Cotton, the laws were taken entirely from the Old Testament.
(However, these laws were deemed unfitting as the modern society was so different from that of the ancient Hebrews. In 1641, these laws were adapted into "The Body of Liberties" which became the first, true code.) Important Events In History One event that was important (though not necessarily good) in the history of Massachusetts Bay Colony was that, in 1641, it was the first colony to legalize slavery. Though the governor wanted to mold Massachusetts into the trend-setting colony that the others would look up to, this act set a very different trend for Colonial America.
Another important event was the merging of Massachusetts Bay with Plymouth Colony in 1691. Along with Plymouth, Massachusetts also absorbed Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. People To Know WILLIAM LAUD-
Archbishop and favored adviser to
King Charles I, he attempted
to stamp out Puritans in England. JOHN WINTHROP
First governor of Massachusetts Bay
Colony and leader of settlers. He was
voted out of office and re-elected a total
of 12 times between 1639 and 1648. JOHN ENDICOTT
After Winthrop died in 1649, Endicott
was elected governor and served almost
continuosly up until his death in 1665. THE END (POOR GUY!)
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