Settling the Northern Colonies
1. The Protestant Reformation Produces Puritanism
1. 1517, Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation when he
nailed his “95 Theses” on the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral. Luther
had several challenges to the Roman church. The most basic of
Luther’s ideas were …
1. The Bible or scripture alone was the source of God’s word (not
the Bible and the church or pope).
2. People are saved by grace alone from God (salvation comes as
an undeserved gift from God, not by earning it or deciding to be
3. People are saved simply by faith in Christ alone (not by any
“good works” the person might’ve done).
2. John Calvin preached Calvinism that stressed “predestination”
(those going to Heaven or hell has already been determined by God).
1. Basic Christian doctrine was outlined in a 1536 document
“Institutes of the Christian Religion.”
1. It said people were sinful.
2. It said only the predestined would go to Heaven.
2. A Calvinist expected to see signs of predestination in a person’s
life. The person was to have an outward conversion, recognized
by others who’d been saved.
3. An odd irony was created: predestination was very clear about
Heaven and hell. But, it created a question as to who’s on what
1. The reasoning went: if a person lives a sinful life, then
obviously he’s predestined to hell. If he lives a pious life,
then he’s predestined to Heaven.
2. Calvinists are famous for working hard, dusk to dawn, to
“prove” their worthiness.
3. The impact of Calvinism has been vividly stamped on
the psyche of Americans, and been called the
“Protestant Work Ethic.”
3. For personal reasons, King Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church
in the 1530s. He started the Protestant Church of England.
4. The Puritans vs. the Pilgrims
1. A group of English called Puritans were moved to reform
(“purify”) the Church of England. This is the point that
separates Puritans from Pilgrims.
2. Believed that only “visible saints” should be admitted to church
3. By contrast, the Pilgrims were Separatists. They vowed to
break away from the Church of England (AKA the Anglican
Church) because the “saints” would have to sit with the
1. King James I harassed the Separatists out of England.
His reasoning was that if this group of people were
willing to defy him as their spiritual leader, they might
also defy him as their political leader.
2. King James I is the king for whom the King James Bible
is named. 3. There’s irony here in that the Separatists claimed King
James’ Church of England had strayed from the Bible,
and they likely had. Yet the “King James Bible” quickly
became accepted as being a very accurate translation,
and still is considered so.
2. The Pilgrims End Their Pilgrimage at Plymouth
1. The Pilgrims, as Separatists, wanted to completely break away from
the Church of England.
1. They first moved to Holland with intentions of simply living
2. Then they decided they’d have to move since their children
were growing up Dutch. This was understandable, of course,
but they wanted their kids to grow up English.
3. They sought a location with English traditions where they’d be
free to worship in their own way—America was the logical
2. They struck a deal with the Virginia Company and set sail from Holland
aboard the Mayflower.
1. One person was born on the trip and one died.
2. They were supposed to head to Virginia, but arrived off of the
coast of New England in 1620.
3. Wisely, the Pilgrims carefully surveyed for possible sites.
Plymouth was chosen.
4. Leadership and security against Indians would come to be
provided by Captain Myles Standish, known as “Captain
3. Since they were in a land where they had no legal right to settle, steps
had to be taken.
1. Before leaving the ship, the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower
Compact, where they agreed to make and live by new rules.
2. This was the first form of self-government in New England and
laid the foundation that America would be run by Americans.
4. The winter of 1620-21 was brutal to the Pilgrims. By spring, only 44
out of the 102 were still alive.
5. Unlike the Jamestown settlers, who had a similar first winter and
wanted to return to England in the spring, the Pilgrims were
determined to stay.
1. They worked and prayed diligently the following year, gained
some help and seeds from friendly Massasoit Indians, and grew
a bountiful harvest—the first Thanksgiving.
2. William Bradford, was selected as governor of the Plymouth
colony 30 times in annual elections.
6. Plymouth began humbly, but survived.
1. Its economy was based on fur trapping, fishing, and lumber.
2. Plymouth never grew large, and in 1691, it merged with the
much larger Massachusetts Bay Colony.
3. The Bay Colony Bible Commonwealth
1. A group of Puritans were given a royal charter in 1629. This would
become the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1. The charter was brought to America and used it like a
2. This was another first step toward self-government made in
Massachusetts. 2. The Puritans came in much larger numbers than the Pilgrims—about
1. The Puritans were well-equipped and industrious people.
3. Similar to Plymouth, the Bay Colony enjoyed good leadership, stability,
1. There governor, John Winthrop, was elected for 19 years.
2. The colony thrived and grew with an economy based on fur
trading, fishing, and shipbuilding.
4. Building the Bay Colony
1. The Bay Colony was a “Bible Commonwealth”—a democracy run on
1. The franchise (right to vote) was quickly given to all
“freemen.” Freemen were adult men who were members of the
congregation (later called theCongregational Church).
2. Non-church member men, and all women, were excluding from
1. There was the belief that the common man was
incapable of voting wisely. Governor Winthrop called
democracy the “meanest and worst” form of
2. Puritans also wanted to retain government control in the
hands of the church—hence the rule of church
membership. Gaining church membership, by the way,
only occurred when the church members voted you in.
3. All told, this meant that roughly 40% of adult men could vote.
This number may seem low by today’s standards (only 40% of
men and 0% of women), but it still was larger than percentages
back in Europe.
2. The most noteworthy Puritan preacher was John Cotton. He’d been
educated at Cambridge, criticized the Church of England, and then
emigrated to Massachusetts.
3. The Bible Commonwealth had its ways…
1. Sermons, like those by John Cotton, were stern but moving,
and clearly drew the line of right and wrong, Heaven and hell,
saints and sinners.
2. Local congregations could hire or fire their local pastor as they
chose, (this is why they’re called “Congregational).”
3. There was a strict moral code to uphold right and wrong. For
example, one couple was fined 20 shillings for kissing in public.
4. The devil, sin, and hell were very real, very serious, easily
fallen into, and had to be constantly guarded against.
1. Michael Wigglessorth wrote “Day of Doom” and sold
one copy for every 20 people.
5. Trouble in the Bible Commonwealth This content copyright © 2010 by
1. In such a tightly strung society, tension quickly came to
2. Quakers challenged Puritan authority and were given fines, floggings,
3. Anne Hutchinson was an outspoken woman who challenged
1. Her theory, called antinomianism, argued that if there was
predestination, then a person’s actions were immaterial (because the saints and sinners were already
determined). This was heresy.
2. This struck hard at the Puritans because…
1. This challenged political control—Why follow government
rules/laws if it doesn’t matter?
2. This challenged religious control—Why follow church
rules/laws if it doesn’t matter?
3. Women were not supposed to question authority and
certainly not to speak out.
3. She was put on trial in 1638, and claimed to have received
these revelations from God—even higher heresy.
4. Hutchinson was banished and moved to startup Rhode Island
where religious freedom was new and favorable.
5. Hutchinson was eventually killed by Indians in New York. John
Winthrop said that “God’s hand” was involved in her death.
4. Roger Williams was a young, outspoken preacher who sought a clean
break with the Church of England. His ideas quickly got him into
1. Questioning the Bay Colony charter’s legality.
2. Questioning dealings with the Indians.
3. Questioning whether the church could run people’s lives and
the government. He had to go.
4. In 1635, he was banished for “newe & dangerous opinions.”
6. The Rhode Island “Sewer”
1. Roger Williams’ differing religious views got him into trouble in
Massachusetts. So, he started Rhode Island.
2. “Little Rhody” grew attractive to the “otherwise minded.” That is,
anyone that didn’t fit into Massachusetts’ tight-laced religious society.
3. Rhode Island thus attracted a variety of people with nothing in
common except a desire for independence. This strain of independence
became their point of unity.
4. The colony was officially chartered in 1644.
7. New England Spreads Out
1. A new colony was founded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1635.
1. Reverend Thomas Hooker quickly led a group into
Connecticut. This group was attracted as much by the
Connecticut River’s good farmland than by religious reasons.
2. In 1639, Connecticut settlers drew up the “Fundamental
Orders,” America’s first written constitution.
1. This document later became a model for the U.S.
3. In 1638, the colony of New Haven was established. It later
2. In 1623, Maine was annexed by Massachusetts.
1. Maine remained part of Massachusetts for nearly 150 years.
3. In 1641, New Hampshire was annexed by Massachusetts.
1. New Hampshire remained part of Massachusetts until 1679
when the king separated it.
8. Puritans Versus Indians
1. White diseases had made their mark even before the Pilgrims’ arrival
in 1620. Disease had then struck the Indians, killing an estimated ¾ of
2. Initial relations with the natives were friendly. 1. A Wampanoag named Squanto befriended and helped the
2. A white—Wampanoag peace agreement was signed.
3. This treaty, along with the first Thanksgiving, became the
standard symbolic of good white—Indian relations and gave
hope for good relations in the future.
3. In 1637, relations deteriorated when the Pequot War erupted.
1. Incidents began to ripple through New England as more and
more English settlers moved in.
2. The war raged when whites wiped out a Pequot village on the
Mystic River in Connecticut.
3. All told, the Pequots were nearly wiped out as a tribe. White—
Indians relations had turned for the worse and would largely
stay that way.
1. After criticism of the attack, Puritans attempted to
convert Indians to Christianity.
4. Aside from disease,