Chapter 3

Settling the Northern Colonies



The Protestant Reformation Produces Puritanism

German friar Martin Luther denounced the authority of the priests and popes when he nailed his protests against Catholic doctrines to the door of Wittenberg's cathedral in 1517.  He declared that the Bible alone was the source of God's words.  He started the "Protestant Reformation."

John Calvin of Geneva elaborated Martin Luther's ideas.  He wrote his basic doctrine in Latin in 1536, entitled Institutes of the Christian Religion.  These ideas formed Calvinism. Calvanism supported the idea of predestination.

When King Henry VIII broke his ties with the Roman Catholic Church in the 1530s, he formed the Protestant Church.  There were a few people who wanted to see the process of taking Catholicism out of England occur more quickly.  These people were called Puritans.

A tiny group of Puritans, called Separatists, broke away from the Church of England (Protestant).  Fearing that his subjects would defy him both as their political leader and spiritual leader, King James I, the head of state of England and head of the church from 1603-1625, threatened to kick the Separatists out of England.


The Pilgrims End Their Pilgrimage at Plymouth

Losing their identity as English, a group of Separatists in Holland came to America in search for religious freedom.  The group settled outside the domain of the Virginia Company and, without legal permission, settled in Plymouth Bay in 1620.

Captain Myles Standish- prominent among the non-belongers of the Mayflower who came to Plymouth Bay; an Indian fighter and negotiator.

Before disembarking from the Mayflower, the Pilgrim leaders drew up and signed the Mayflower Compact.  This was a simple agreement to form a crude government and to submit to the will of the majority under the regulations agreed upon.  It was signed by 41 adult males.  It was the first attempt at a government in America.

In the Pilgrims' first winter of 1620-1621, only 44 of the 102 survived.

In 1621, there was the first Thanksgiving Day in New England.

William Bradford- elected 30 times as governor of the Pilgrims in the annual elections; a self-taught scholar who read Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, and Dutch; Pilgrim leader.


The Bay Colony Bible Commonwealth

Charles I dismissed English Parliament in 1629 and approved of anti-Puritan persecutions of Archbishop William Laud.

In 1629, an energetic group of non-Separatist Puritans, fearing for their faith and for England's future, secured a royal charter to form the Massachusetts Bay Company.  (Massachusetts Bay Colony) 

During the Great Migration of the 1630s, about 70,000 refugees left England for America.  Most of them were attracted to the warm and fertile West Indies, especially the sugar-rich island of Barbados.

John Winthrop- the Bay Colony's first governor - served for 19 years.


Building the Bay Colony

The Massachusetts Bay Colony was not a democracy because its governor (Winthrop) did not like Democracy. He did not think that the "commoners" could rule. 

The colony's religious residents (freemen) annually elected the governor and his assistants and a representative assembly called the General Court. Non-religious residents could not vote.

Visible Saints was another name for the Puritans.

John Cotton- a very devoted Puritan.

Michael Wigglesworth wrote the poem, "The Day of Doom," in 1662.


Trouble in the Bible Commonwealth

Anne Hutchinson- an intelligent woman who challenged the Puritan orthodoxy; was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of her challenges to the Church.

Roger Williams- popular Salem minister who also challenged the Church; an extreme Separatist; was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.


The Rhode Island "Sewer"

Roger Williams fled to the Rhode Island area in 1636.  There, he established religious freedom for all kinds of people.


New England Spreads Out

Hartford was founded in 1635.  Boston Puritans settled into the Hartford area lead by Reverend Thomas Hooker.

In 1639, the settlers of the new Connecticut River colony drafted a document known as the Fundamental Orders.  It was basically a constitution.

New Haven was established in 1638.

Part of Maine was purchased by Massachusetts Bay in 1677 from the Sir Ferdinando Gorges heirs.

In 1641, New Hampshire was absorbed by the greedy Massachusetts Bay.  The king took it back and made New Hampshire a royal colony in 1679.


Puritans versus Indians

The Wampanoag chieftain, Massasoit, signed a treaty with the Plymouth Pilgrims in 1621.  The Wampanoag helped the Pilgrims have the first Thanksgiving in that same year.

In 1637, hostilities exploded between the English settlers and the powerful Pequot tribe.  The English militiamen and their Narragansett Indian allies annihilated the Pequot tribe.

In 1675, Massasoit's son, Metacom (also nicknamed King Philip by the English) launched a series of attacks and raids against the colonists' towns.  The war ended in 1676.

Seeds of Colonial Unity and Independence

In 1643, 4 colonies banded together to form the New England Confederation.  It was made to defend against foes or potential foes.  The confederation consisted of only Puritan colonies - two Massachusetts colonies (the Bay Colony and small Plymouth) and two Connecticut colonies (New Haven and the scattered valley settlements).

Each colony had 2 votes, regardless of size.

As a slap at the Massachusetts Bay Colony, King Charles II gave rival Connecticut in 1662 a sea-to-sea charter grant, which legalized the squatter settlements.

In 1663, the outcasts in Rhode Island received a new charter, which gave kingly sanction to the most religiously tolerant government yet devised in America.

In 1684, the Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter was revoked by London authorities.


Andros Promotes the First American Revolution

In 1686, the Dominion of New England was created by royal authority.  Unlike the homegrown New England Confederation, it was imposed from London.  It embraced all of New England until in 1688 when it was expanded to New York and East and West Jersey.

The leader of the Dominion of New England was Sir Edmund Andros - an able English military man.  He established headquarters in Puritanical Boston.

Andros stopped the town meetings; laid heavy restrictions on the courts, the press, and schools; and revoked all land titles.

In 1688-1689, the people of old England engineered the Glorious (or Bloodless) Revolution.  They dethroned Catholic James II and enthroned the Protestant rulers of the Netherlands, the Dutch-born William III and his English wife, Mary, daughter of James II.

In 1691, Massachusetts was made a royal colony.

There was unrest in New York and Maryland from 1689-1691, until newly appointed royal governors restored a semblance of order.


Old Netherlands at New Netherland

Late in the 16th Century, the Netherlands fought for and won its independence from Catholic Spain with the help of England.

In the 17th Century, the Dutch (the Netherlands) became a power.  Golden Age.  It fought 3 great Anglo-Dutch naval battles.  The Dutch Republic became a leading colonial power, with by far its greatest activity in the East Indies. 

The Dutch East India Company was nearly a state within a state and at one time supported an army of 10,000 men and a fleet of 190 ships, 40 of them men-of-war.

This company hired an English explorer, Henry Hudson, to seek great riches.  He sailed into the Delaware Bay and New York Bay in 1609 and then ascended the Hudson River.  He filed a Dutch claim to a wooded and watered area.  The Dutch West India Company was less powerful than the Dutch East India Company, and was based in the Caribbean.  It was more interested in raiding than trading. 

In 1628, in raided a fleet of Spanish treasure ships and stole $15 million.

The company established outposts in Africa and Brazil.

In 1623-1624, the Dutch West India Company established New Netherland in the Hudson River area.  It was made for its quick-profit fur trade.  The company also purchased Manhattan Island from the Indians for worthless trinkets. The island encompassed 22,000 acres.

New Amsterdam, later New York City, was a company town.  The Quakers were savagely abused.


Friction with English and Swedish Neighbors

New England was hostile to the growth of its Dutch neighbor, and the people of Connecticut finally ejected intruding Hollanders from their verdant valley.  3 of the 4 member colonies of the New England Confederation were eager to wipe out New Netherland with military force.  Massachusetts, providing most of the troops, rejected this.

From 1638-1655, the Swedish trespassed on Dutch preserves by planting the anemic colony of New Sweden on the Delaware River.

The Golden Age for Sweden was during and following the Thirty Years' War of 1618-1648, in which its brilliant King Gustavus Adolphus had carried the torch for Protestantism.

Resenting the Swedish intrusion, the Dutch dispatched a small military expedition in 1655.  It was led by the able of the directors-general, Peter Stuyvesant, who had lost a leg while soldiering in the West Indies and was dubbed "Father Wooden Leg" by the Indians.  The main fort fell after a bloodless siege, whereupon Swedish rule came to an abrupt end.


Dutch Residues in New York

In 1664, the Dutch were forced to surrender their territory (New Netherland) to the English when a strong English squadron appeared off the coast of New Amsterdam.  New Amsterdam was named New York, after the Duke of York.


Penn's Holy Experiment in Pennsylvania

A group of dissenters, commonly known as Quakers, arose in England in the mid-1600s.  Officially, they were known as the Religious Society of Friends.

Quakers were especially offensive to the authorities, both religious and civil.  They refused to support the Church of England with taxes.

William Penn was attracted to the Quaker faith in 1660.  In 1681, he managed to secure from King Charles II an immense grant of fertile land, in consideration of a monetary debt owed to his deceased father by the crown.  The king called the area Pennsylvania


Quaker Pennsylvania and Its Neighbors

The Quakers treated the Indians very well.  Many immigrants came to Pennsylvania seeking religious freedom.

"Blue Laws" prevented "ungodly revelers" from staging plays, playing cards, dice, games, and excessive hilarity.

By 1700, Pennsylvania surpassed all but Massachusetts and Virginia as the most populous and wealthy colony.

William Penn was never fully liked by his colonists because of his friendly relations with James II.  He was arrested for treason thrice and thrown into prison.

In 1664, New Netherland, a territory along the Hudson River, was taken by the English and granted to Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. This grant that was given to Carteret and Berkeley divided the region into East and West New Jersey, respectively.

Berkeley sold West New Jersey in 1674 to a William Penn and his group of Quakers, who set up a sanctuary before Pennsylvania was launched.

In 1681 (the same year that Penn was given the region of Pennsylvania from King Charles II), William Penn and his Quakers purchased East New Jersey from Carteret's widow.

In 1702, the proprieters of East and West New Jersey voluntarily surrendered their governmental powers over the region to the royal crown after confusion began to arise over the large number of landowners and growing resentment of authority. England combined the two territories (East and West New Jersey) into one colony in 1702.


The Middle Way in the Middle Colonies

The middle colonies New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, were known as the "bread colonies" because of their heavy exports of grain.

These colonies were more ethnically mixed than any of the other colonies.  The people were given more religious tolerance than in any other colonies.

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1706. He moved to Philadelphia at the age of 17.


The Stuart Dynasty in England

Name, Reign

Relation to America

James I, 1603-1625

VA., Plymouth founded; Separatists persecuted

Charles I, 1625-1649

Civil Wars, 1642-1649; MA, MD formed

Interregnum, 1649-1660

Commonwealth; Protectorate (Oliver Cromwell)

Charles II, 1660-1685

The Restoration; Carolina, Pa., NY founded; CT chartered

James II, 1685-1688

Catholic trend; Glorious Revolution, 1688

William and Mary, 1689-1702

(Mary died in 1694)

King William's War, 1689-1697



1517: Martin Luther begins Protestant Reformation

1536: John Calvin of Geneva publishes Institutes of the Christian Religion

1620: Pilgrims sail on the Mayflower to Plymouth Bay

1624: Dutch found New Netherland

1629: Charles I dismisses Parliament and persecutes Puritans

1630: Puritans found Massachusetts Bay Colony

1635-1636: Roger Williams convicted of heresy and founds Rhode Island colony

1635-1638: Connecticut and New Haven colonies founded

1637: Pequot War

1638: Anne Hutchinson banished from Massachusetts colony

1639: Connecticut's Fundamental Orders drafted

1642-1648: English Civil War

1643: New England Confederation formed

1655: New Netherland conquers New Sweden

1664: England seizes New Netherland from Dutch, East and West Jersey colonies    founded

1675-1676: King Philip's War

1681: William Penn founds Pennsylvania colony

1686: Royal authority creates Dominion of New England

1688-1689: Glorious Revolution overthrows Stuarts and Dominion of New England


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