|Colonization in New England:
Analyzing Primary Sources
You will “investigate” ONE primary source of your choice that sheds light on our understanding of Puritanism and the colonization of New England. Regardless of which primary source you choose, you will complete the following task:
Identify the primary source’s:
First, determine the origin and purpose of the source…
ORIGIN, Who wrote it?
When was it written?
What type of source is it? (speech, photograph, etc.)
Is it a primary or secondary source?
PURPOSE, Why was it written?
Who was the intended audience?
Then, use the source’s origin and purpose to evaluate its values and limitations.
VALUES, What information can be learned from this source?
How is it helpful to historians?
& What makes it reliable?
LIMITATIONS What biases are present in the source?
What prevents the source from being useful?
What should the historian be wary of?
What makes it unreliable?
**NOTE: you do not have to answer every question linked with the four steps.
These questions should be used as a guide to understand what each category is asking you to analyze.**
Finally, summarize the primary source in one paragraph, identifying how it fits into the larger picture of the colonization of New England.
U.S. History 1 Miss Raab
The Old Deluder Satan Act was passed in Massachusetts of 1647. It was one of America's first education acts, and it required that all towns of 50 or more families to provide an elementary school, where teachers were required to teach, not only reading and writing, but the bible as well. Towns that held 100 or more families were required to have grammar schools. This was a school where students focused mostly on Latin and Greek. The Puritans believed that if their children read and studied the Bible enough, then they would be able to resist evil temptations, and avoid sinners.
This act was a way for the local community to ensure that education was passed from one generation to the next. Puritans, also, wanted to avoid having a generation of poor and unintelligent people, and in order to keep that from happening, they made sure that every citizen got enough education to read so that they could understand the laws and read the Bible. Life in the 1600's was based on religion and their laws came from the Bible.
The Old Deluder Act (1647)
From Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England (1853), II: 203
It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times by keeping them in an unknown tongue, so in these latter times by persuading from the use of tongues, that so that at least the true sense and meaning of the original might be clouded and corrupted with false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers; and to the end that learning may not be buried in the grave of our forefathers, in church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors.
It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to fifty households shall forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the parents or masters of such children, or by the inhabitants in general, by way of supply, as the major part of those that order the prudentials of the town shall appoint; provided those that send their children be not oppressed by paying much more than they can have them taught for in other towns.
And it is further ordered, that when any town shall increase to the number of one hundred families or householders, they shall set up a grammar school, the master thereof being able to instruct youth so far as they may be fitted for the university, provided that if any town neglect the performance hereof above one year that every such town shall pay 5 pounds to the next school till they shall perform this order.
The passengers of the Arbella who left England in 1630 with their new charter had a great vision. They were to be an example for the rest of the world in rightful living. Future governor John Winthrop stated their purpose quite clearly: "We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us."
The Arbella was one of eleven ships carrying over a thousand Puritans to Massachusetts that year. It was the largest original venture ever attempted in the English New World. The passengers were determined to be a beacon for the rest of Europe, "A Modell of Christian Charity," in the words of the governor.
The “City upon a Hill” section of the sermon called “A Model of Christian Charity” was written in 1630 by the Puritan leader John Winthrop while the first group of Puritan emigrants was still onboard their ship, the Arbella, waiting to disembark and create their first settlement in what would become New England. The “City” section of this sermon was pulled out by later readers as a crystallization of the Puritan mission in the New World.
John Winthrop's City upon a Hill, 1630
Not original spelling
Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck and to provide for our posterity is to follow the counsel of Micah (An Old Testament Hebrew Prophet), to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God, for this end, we must be knit together in this work as one man, we must entertain each other in brotherly affection, we must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others necessities, we must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality, we must delight in each other, make others conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body, so shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, the Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us, as his own people and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of his wisdom, power, goodness, and truth then formerly we have been acquainted with, we shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when he shall make us a praise and glory, that men shall say of succeeding plantations: the lord make it like that of New England: for we must consider that we shall be as a City Upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world, we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all professors God’s sake; we shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whether we are going: And to shut up this discourse with that exhortation of Moses that faithful servant of the Lord in his last farewell to Israel (Deuteronomy 30). Beloved there is now set before us life and good, death and evil in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God and to love one another, to walk in his ways and to keep his commandments and his ordinance, and his laws, and the articles of our covenant with him that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may bless us in the land whether we go to possess it: But if our hearts shall turn away so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced and worship other Gods our pleasures, and profits, and serve them, it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good Land whether we passes over this vast sea to possess it;
Therefore let us choose life that we,
and our seed, may live;
by obeying his voice, and
cleaving to him, for he is our life, and our prosperity.
“If they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed…
to separate them from all the civil parts of the world” – William Bradford
The 102 passengers on the Mayflower were divided into two groups. Only 41 of them were Pilgrims--religious dissenters called Separatists, who had fled England for Holland. Now they sought a new life in America where they could practice their religion in the manner they chose. The rest of the passengers, called "strangers" by the Pilgrims, included merchants, craftsmen, skilled workers and indentured servants, and several young orphans. All were common people. About one-third of them were children.
The Pilgrims had organized the voyage. William Brewster and the other Pilgrim leaders had secured the right to settle on land claimed by the Virginia Company near the mouth of the Hudson River. To raise money for the voyage the Pilgrims signed a contract with a group of London stockholders. In return the stockholders would share in the profits of the planned colony. The Pilgrims had rounded up the "strangers" to increase the chances of success for their enterprise.
The 3,000-mile voyage across the Atlantic lasted more than two months. When they finally sighted land on November 9, 1620, the captain of the Mayflower knew right away that they were at Cape Cod, far north of their destination. The captain headed the Mayflower southward, but dangerous sand bars and heavy seas forced them to turn back. The Mayflower finally dropped anchor in a harbor at the tip of Cape Cod. Rather than chancing more days at sea, the Pilgrims decided to land.
Almost immediately, an argument broke out. According to William Bradford (who later wrote an account of the Pilgrims' experiences) several "strangers" made "discontented and mutinous speeches." They apparently argued that, since the Cape Cod area was outside the jurisdiction of the Virginia Company, its rules and regulations no longer applied. The troublemakers threatened to do as they pleased "for none had power to command them," wrote William Bradford. Three thousand miles from home, a real crisis faced the colonists even before they stepped ashore.
The Mayflower Compact
Imagine the situation: over 100 people, cut off from any government, with a rebellion brewing. Only staunch determination would help the Pilgrims land and establish their colony. If they didn't work as a group, they could all die in the wilderness.
The Pilgrim leaders realized that they needed a temporary government authority. Back home, such authority came from the king. Isolated as they were in America, it could only come from the people themselves. Aboard the Mayflower, by necessity, the Pilgrims and "Strangers" made a written agreement or compact among themselves.
The Mayflower Compact was probably composed by William Brewster, who had a university education, and was signed by nearly all the adult male colonists, including two of the indentured servants. The format of the Mayflower Compact is very similar to the written agreements used by the Pilgrims to establish their Separatist churches in England and Holland. Under these agreements the male adult members of each church decided how to worship God. They also elected their own ministers and other church officers. This pattern of church self-government served as a model for political self-government in the Mayflower Compact.
The colonists had no intention of declaring their independence from England when they signed the Mayflower Compact. In the opening line of the Compact, both Pilgrims and "Strangers" refer to themselves as "loyal subjects" of King James. The rest of the Mayflower Compact is very short. It simply bound the signers into a "Civil Body Politic" for the purpose of passing "just and equal Laws . . . for the general good of the Colony." But those few words expressed the idea of self-government for the first time in the New World.
Self-Government Takes Root
Immediately after agreeing to the Mayflower Compact, the signers elected John Carver (one of the Pilgrim leaders) as governor of their colony. They called it Plymouth Plantation. When Governor Carver died in less than a year, William Bradford, age 31, replaced him. Each year thereafter the "Civil Body Politic," consisting of all adult males except indentured servants, assembled to elect the governor and a small number of assistants. Bradford was re-elected 30 times between 1621 and 1656.
In the early years Governor Bradford pretty much decided how the colony should be run. Few objected to his one-man rule. As the colony's population grew due to immigration, several new towns came into existence. The roving and increasingly scattered population found it difficult to attend the General Court, as the governing meetings at Plymouth came to be called. By 1639, deputies were sent to represent each town at the other General Court sessions. Not only self-rule, but representative government had taken root on American soil.
The English Magna Carta, written more than 400 years before the Mayflower Compact, established the principle of the rule of law. In England this still mostly meant the king's law. The Mayflower Compact continued the idea of law made by the people. This idea lies at the heart of democracy.
From its crude beginning in Plymouth, self-government evolved into the town meetings of New England and larger local governments in colonial America. By the time of the Constitutional Convention, the Mayflower Compact had been nearly forgotten, but the powerful idea of self-government had not. Born out of necessity on the Mayflower, the Compact made a significant contribution to the creation of a new democratic nation.
Agreement Between the Settlers at New Plymouth : 1620
IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.
Mr. John Carver,
Mr. William Bradford,
Mr Edward Winslow,
Mr. William Brewster.
Mr. Samuel Fuller,
Mr. Christopher Martin,
Mr. William Mullins,
Mr. William White,
Mr. Richard Warren,
Mr. Steven Hopkins,
Mr. John Allerton,
Document Title: ______________________________________________________________________
SUMMARY: How does it fit into the larger picture of colonization in New England?