New England Colonies
Political, economic and social characteristics of the New England colonies.
Colonies & founders
Most New England colonies were founded because of religion reasons. There was some business reasons. For example, New Hampshire was founded by proprietors
1. Massachusetts- founded for religious freedom founders : separatists and puritans
2. New Hampshire- founded for trading and fishing founders : proprietors
3. Connecticut- founded because puritans were seeking more land and Thomas hooker wanted to allow men without land and who don't go to church to vote founder : Thomas Hooker/ puritans
4. Rhode Island- founded for religious freedom founder : Roger Williams
Government in the New England colonies was mostly seen as Theocracy, which later changed because of different individuals. Direct Democracy was also seen in the colonies.
Direct Democracy- A town hall meeting where each man who went to church and owned land could vote for things like laws, regulations, etc..
Constitutions/ town Compacts- The Mayflower Compact was created when the pilgrims first came to the New World and ended up in Plymouth instead of Jamestown. All of their documents where referring to Jamestown so they decided to make their own compact so they weren't breaking any laws. The compact was rushed but was cleverly made so the colonists had enough freedom but it also insured they work together.
The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut was the first written constitution in America. Thomas Hooker moved away from the puritan civilization to start his own colony where men were allowed to vote even if they didn't own land or attend church. Through the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut Thomas Hooker introduced the idea of human rights.
In New England the soil was very rocky and poor so families did mostly subsistence farming. New England made most of its income by fishing and using their great natural harbors. They also used gain mills and saw mills to make money. Also because of the good thick forests, they would build ships and export them through their harbors. New England gained wealth quite quickly because of the great harbors, wood, and fish.
Persecutions & Meetings
In New England the Puritans believed in witches and because of their strong religious beliefs they were very against anyone accused of or practicing witchcraft. The main punishment for being accused of this was execution however a few lucky individuals got away. An event in history that was strongly focused around this was The Salem Witch Trials, and during this event a group of puritan teenage girls pretended to be cursed by a witch in their colony and then went on to blame mostly innocent people. Some people were not executed because they simply admitted to practicing witchcraft and were just banned from the colony. There are many different predictions to why these girls did this, but the most simple and reasonable one is that the girls got caught up in their own lies and were afraid to get in trouble if they told the truth.
Town Hall Meetings- take a part in this event because before they would execute a "witch" they would have a town hall meeting so people could vote if they should execute the witch or not. Town hall meeting was basically a gathering of all men who went to church and owned land. Anyone else could not vote, but Thomas Hooker later changed this in Connecticut.
City Upon a Hill- As the puritans where traveling to the New World to "purify" the people there John Winthrop gave a special speech known as " The City Upon a Hill". In this speech John says that they will set the example for everyone there so they have to act their best. He says that they should not fight and that they should be selfless to each other. John wanted the puritans to be united and to do everything for god.