Massachusetts bay company the great migration
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Massachusetts Bay Company The Great Migration. Chartered in 1629 by a group of London merchants 5 Ships left England in 1629 , by 1642 21,000 Puritans had emigrated to Massachusetts Bay Goals – Further the Puritan cause Profit through Indian trade

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Massachusetts Bay Company The Great Migration

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Massachusetts Bay CompanyThe Great Migration

  • Chartered in 1629 by a group of London merchants

  • 5 Ships left England in 1629, by 1642 21,000 Puritans had emigrated to Massachusetts Bay

  • Goals – Further the Puritan cause

  • Profit through Indian trade

  • By 1642, migration had virtually ceased

Comparison to Other Colonies

  • Servants represented about 25% of the Great Migration

  • Most settlers came with families

  • Unlike Virginia and Maryland the settlers were:


    More prosperous

    Ratio of men to women was more equally


  • Due to the sex ratio and better climate, the population grew

  • By 1700 the white population was 91,000 larger than that of the Chesapeake and West Indies

Puritan Families

  • The family was the foundation of a strong community

  • Unmarried adults were considered a danger to the community fabric.

  • A typical woman was married at the age 22 and bore 7 children

  • Due to the climate, the infant mortality rate was lower than the southern colonies

  • Most of a woman’s life was devoted to child bearing and rearing.

  • Males were head of the household

  • Married women had very limited legal and economic rights

  • Male authority vital to a man’s economic success especially in a farming community with few servants and a large family

  • While women were NOT the economic equals of men, they were considered equal spiritually.

Puritan Liberties

  • Social hierarchy

  • People who were considered socially prominent were given the best land and choice seats in church

  • People were referred to as “goodman,” “goodwife,” “gentleman,” “lady,” “master,” or “mistress”

  • Inequality was an expression of God’s will

  • Slavery was allowed

  • Separate list of rights for men, women, children, servants

  • Ministers weren’t allowed to hold office

  • The law allowed for the death penalty for worshipping any God but the lord God

  • Taxes were collected to support the minister

  • Some rights such as free speech and assembly were allowed to all.

  • Puritan marriage was based on reciprocal affection and companionship and divorce was legal.

  • The husband’s authority was virtually absolute.


  • The colony was organized in self governing towns.

  • Groups of settlers would receive a land grant from the colony’s government and subdivide it themselves.

  • Residents were given a house lot in a central area and land on the outskirts for farming.

  • A lot of the land remained in common ownership:

    To be used collectively

    To be divided later among settlers or for the

    sons of the founders.

  • Each settlement was required to establish a school.

  • Harvard University was established in 1636.

  • The colony was to be ruled without interference from non-Puritans.

  • A group of 8 deputies was elected by landowning church members to form the General Court.

  • 10 years later, company officers and elected deputies were divided into two legislative houses.

  • The freemen elected a Governor.

  • Churches were formed by agreement and ministers were elected.

  • No important church decision was made without agreement of male members.

  • Anyone could worship at church but to be a member one had to prove worthiness.

  • Church membership was considered to be prestigious.

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