New England “We must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill … the eyes of all people are upon us.” - John Winthrop
Founded by English Puritans. These were Anglicans who felt that not enough had been done to distance the Anglican church from the Catholics. • Their protestations of the church were regarded as an affront to the king, and for this, they faced persecution or even death. • Some went to Holland, but their children growing up speaking a language not spoken by their parents became a problem. • Led by William Bradford, 35 “Pilgrims” – radical Protestants who had separated completely from the Church of England – opted to seek their freedom in America. They joined 60 other migrants from England and arrived on the Mayflower in Plymouth in 1620.
While en route, they were blown off course. They had intended to go to Virgina, but were going to land on the coast of New England. Lacking a charter for this land, and being outside of the jurisdiction of the king, they signed the Mayflower Compact to “combine ourselves together into a civill body politick.” This would become the first “constitution” adopted in North America.
In 1625, Charles I became King of England. He was particularly unkind to the Puritans. After dissolving Parliament and promoting William Laud, who loathed Puritans, to head the Church of England, he sparked a mass exodus, wherein thousands of Puritans sought refuge in America.
In 1630, 900 Puritans boarded eleven ships and sailed across the Atlantic under the leadership of John Winthrop, a highly-regarded Puritan squire. • He did so under a corporate charter granted by the king for use around Boston. • The Puritans established the Massachusetts Bay colony.
Winthrop knew that their purpose was significant. He believed that England was “morally corrupt and ‘overburdened with people.’” • He had a vision for a new land free from the failures and decadence of Europe, and said • Between 1630 and 1640, over 20 000 people left England for the New World. “We must consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.”
The Earliest settlers in Massachusetts faced similar hardships to their Virginian counterparts. Of the 100 who landed in the winter of 1620, only about half survived until the spring. • Thereafter, the Plymouth colony, unlike Virginia, became healthy and thriving.
The cold climate of Massachusetts inhibited the spread of mosquito-born diseases. • Because they were not motivated by the draw of making quick money, the Pilgrims, unlike those who arrived in Virginia, built solid houses and planted ample crops • Their religious discipline was fundamental toward their building of community – you’ve probably heard the phrase “puritan work ethic” or “protestant work ethic”
Most of the earliest Europeans who came to America were in pursuit of a new life. They wanted religious freedom, economic stability, or the chance to leave an old life behind.