CHAPTER 3: SETTLING THE NORHTERN COLONIES, 1619-1700
I. The Protestant Reformation Produces Puritanism
In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral. Luther had several explosive ideas including… The Bible alone was the source of God’s word (not the Bible and the Church or pope). People are saved simply by faith in Christ alone (not by faith and good works). His actions ignited the Protestant Reformation.
John Calvin preached Calvinism which stressed “predestination” (those going to Heaven or hell has already been determined by God). Basic doctrines were stated in the 1536 document entitled Institutes of the Christian Religion. Stated that all humans were weak and wicked.
Only the predestined could go to heaven, no matter what.
Calvinists were expected to seek “conversion,” signs that they were one of the predestined, and afterwards, lead “sanctified lives.” Calvinists are famous for working hard, dusk to dawn, to “prove” their worthiness. The impact of Calvinism has been vividly stamped on the psyche of Americans, and been called the “Protestant Work Ethic.” In England, King Henry VIII was breaking his ties with the Holy Roman Catholic Church in the 1530s. Some people, called Puritans, were influenced to totally reform (“purify”) the Church of England. The Puritans believed that only “visible saints” should be admitted to church membership Separatists vowed to break away from the Church of England (AKA, the Anglican Church) because the “saints” would have to sit with the “damned.” These folks became the Pilgrims. King James I, father of the beheaded Charles I, harassed the Separatists out of England because he thought that if people could defy him as their spiritual leader, they might defy him as their political ruler. II. The Pilgrims End Their Pilgrimage at Plymouth
The Pilgrims, or Separatists, came from Holland, where they had fled after they had left England. They were concerned that their children were getting too “Dutchified.” They wanted a place where they were free to worship their own religion and could live and die as good Pilgrims. After negotiating with the Virginia Company, the Separatists left Holland and sailed for 65 days at sea on the Mayflower until they arrived off the rocky coast of New England in 1620, a trip in which only one person died and one person was born. Less than half of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower were actually Separatists. Contrary to myth, the Pilgrims undertook a few surveys before deciding to settle at Plymouth, an area far from Virginia. The Pilgrims became squatters, people without legal right to land and without specific authority to establish government. Captain Myles Standish (AKA, “Captain Shrimp”) proved to be a great Indian fighter and negotiator. Before leaving the ship, the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, a set of rules by which to obey. Though it was not a constitution, it did set the standard for later constitutions. It also set the first step toward self-rule in the Northern colonies. In the winter of 1620-1621, only 44 of the 102 survived.
1621 brought bountiful harvests, though, and the first Thanksgiving was celebrated that year. William Bradford, chosen governor of Plymouth 30 times in the annual elections, was a great leader, and helped Plymouth to survive and trade fur, fish, and lumber. In 1691, Plymouth finally merged with the Massachusetts Bay Colony. III. The Bay Colony Bible Commonwealth
In 1629, some non-Separatist Puritans got a royal charter from England to settle in the New World. Secretly, they took the charter with them and later used it as a type of constitution. It was a well-equipped group of 11 ships that carried about 1,000 people to Massachusetts. John Winthrop was elected governor or deputy governor for 19 years, helping Massachusetts prosper in fur trading, fishing, and shipbuilding. IV. Building the Bay Colony
Soon after the establishment of the colony, the franchise (right to vote)...
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