History Lecture #8: Government and Society in New England

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Department
History
Course
HISTORY 7A
Professor
Mark Peterson
Semester
Fall

Description
History Lecture #8: Government and Society in New England I. The Massachusetts Bay Company A. Families and Migration » The Church of England didn’t want a bunch of Puritans leaving England and founding their own colony » Made people migrating on boats swear that they conformed to the Church of England » List of names of people going to Virginia made it difficult to see how they are related to each other – Everyone was around 15-30 years old – A bunch of isolated individuals » Different to list of names of people going to Boston two months earlier – Can see family groups – Instead of younger, isolated individuals, there are established family units – Even the servants came as part of households already – Made a big difference in familial and governmental life in New England compared to in Virginia » People in New England were not people with no means; they invested in New England without expecting an immediate return – They were not poor people seeking jobs – They had means and left because they wanted to escape religious persecution B. Villages and Farms » Settlers in New England began building villages and farms to replicate what they were like in England » They were actually quite successful » Once the settlers began to realize where the good farmland was, they realized that not everyone could settle in the same place » The government in New England decides that each different town had to have their own corporate existence (their own room for autonomy) – strictly speaking, this was illegal by the Charter but no one was there to enforce it » In 1635, the government of each town set up farmland and living space in their boundaries, but reserved a lot of space because they knew there would be new people coming in in 1645 or 1655 or later » Massachusetts tried to find something like tobacco to grow rich, but they couldn’t find anything – Farmland in Massachusetts was brilliant for growing different types of crops, for raising livestock – However, this was not intrinsically valuable enough for someone in England to want to pay for not just the produce but also for the shipping costs – They could produce the food that they needed to survive, but they couldn’t find anything valuable enough for a ship captain, a crew and someone to buy their things – This means that there are thousands of people selling everything they have in England and investing it in their life in New England ◊ They weren’t self-sufficient in the beginning ≈ Unable to produce clothing, paper, industrial materials ◊ But they didn’t want to live the life of primitive, self-sufficient people – They were desperate to find something valuable because they didn’t have anything to attract merchants to come and sell them things or buy things from them ◊ They didn’t leave everything back home for a less sophisticated life » People migrated in waves – New arrivals kept coming in with money – The people there already raising crops and livestock sold their produce to the new arrivals, making enough money to pay the ships to sell their produce to England – As long as new people kept coming in with new money, New England floated ◊ The migration stopped because of English politics ≈ England begins to descend in a decade-long civil war (Scotland and Ireland rise against England, the Parliament begins to criticize the King, etc.) ≈ Puritans have a foothold – means that Puritans aren’t looking to flee, but rather to stay and fight › In fact, many puritans in New England of fighting age are going back to fight in this civil war, with some of them eventually becoming generals etc. on the Puritan side. ≈ Once the migration stopped, all the prices fell to nothing (no demand) – couldn’t sell a cow in 1642 because everyone had cows and no one wanted it. ◊ New England colony on the verge of collapse ≈ Some people going back to England ≈ Others go to Caribbean – some English have set up colonies there C. Churches, Families and the State » Towns were self-governing collections of families who settled there and were granted land – A new town may have 100 families, and each family would be represented by the head of family (father/master/oldest male) – Amount of land granted according to capacity an
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