At the time of the rebellion, indentured servants made up the majority of laborers in the region. Wealthy whites worried over the presence of this large class of laborers and the relative freedom they enjoyed, as well as the alliance that black and white servants had forged in the course of the rebellion. Replacing indentured servitude with black slavery diminished these risks, alleviating the reliance on white indentured servants, who were often dissatisfied and troublesome, and creating a caste of racially defined laborers whose movements were strictly controlled.
It also lessened the possibility of further alliances between black and white workers. Virginia passed a law in prohibiting free blacks and slaves from bearing arms, banning blacks from congregating in large numbers, and establishing harsh punishments for slaves who assaulted Christians or attempted escape. Two years later, another Virginia law stipulated that all Africans brought to the colony would be slaves for life.
Thus, the increasing reliance on slaves in the tobacco colonies—and the draconian laws instituted to control them—not only helped planters meet labor demands, but also served to assuage English fears of further uprisings and alleviate class tensions between rich and poor whites. Robert Beverley was a wealthy Jamestown planter and slaveholder.
This excerpt from his History and Present State of Virginia , published in , clearly illustrates the contrast between white servants and black slaves. Slaves are the Negroes, and their Posterity, following the condition of the Mother, according to the Maxim, partus sequitur ventrem [status follows the womb].
Servants, are those which serve only for a few years, according to the time of their Indenture, or the Custom of the Country. The Custom of the Country takes place upon such as have no Indentures. Some Distinction indeed is made between them in their Cloaths, and Food; but the Work of both, is no other than what the Overseers, the Freemen, and the Planters themselves do. Sufficient Distinction is also made between the Female-Servants, and Slaves; for a White Woman is rarely or never put to work in the Ground, if she be good for any thing else: And to Discourage all Planters from using any Women so, their Law imposes the heaviest Taxes upon Female Servants working in the Ground, while it suffers all other white Women to be absolutely exempted: Whereas on the other hand, it is a common thing to work a Woman Slave out of Doors; nor does the Law make any Distinction in her Taxes, whether her Work be Abroad, or at Home.
According to Robert Beverley, what are the differences between servants and slaves?
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What protections did servants have that slaves did not? The second major area to be colonized by the English in the first half of the seventeenth century, New England, differed markedly in its founding principles from the commercially oriented Chesapeake tobacco colonies. Settled largely by waves of Puritan families in the s, New England had a religious orientation from the start. In England, reform-minded men and women had been calling for greater changes to the English national church since the s.
Many who provided leadership in early New England were learned ministers who had studied at Cambridge or Oxford but who, because they had questioned the practices of the Church of England, had been deprived of careers by the king and his officials in an effort to silence all dissenting voices. Other Puritan leaders, such as the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Winthrop, came from the privileged class of English gentry. These well-to-do Puritans and many thousands more left their English homes not to establish a land of religious freedom, but to practice their own religion without persecution.
Puritan New England offered them the opportunity to live as they believed the Bible demanded. The conflict generated by Puritanism had divided English society, because the Puritans demanded reforms that undermined the traditional festive culture. For example, they denounced popular pastimes like bear-baiting—letting dogs attack a chained bear—which were often conducted on Sundays when people had a few leisure hours. In the culture where William Shakespeare had produced his masterpieces, Puritans called for an end to the theater, censuring playhouses as places of decadence.
The King James Version, published in , instead emphasized the majesty of kings. During the s and s, the conflict escalated to the point where the state church prohibited Puritan ministers from preaching. Yet those who emigrated to the Americas were not united. Some called for a complete break with the Church of England, while others remained committed to reforming the national church.
The first group of Puritans to make their way across the Atlantic was a small contingent known as the Pilgrims. Unlike other Puritans, they insisted on a complete separation from the Church of England and had first migrated to the Dutch Republic seeking religious freedom. Although they found they could worship without hindrance there, they grew concerned that they were losing their Englishness as they saw their children begin to learn the Dutch language and adopt Dutch ways.
Therefore, in , they moved on to found the Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts. The governor of Plymouth, William Bradford, was a Separatist, a proponent of complete separation from the English state church. Bradford and the other Pilgrim Separatists represented a major challenge to the prevailing vision of a unified English national church and empire. On board the Mayflower , which was bound for Virginia but landed on the tip of Cape Cod, Bradford and forty other adult men signed the Mayflower Compact, which presented a religious rather than an economic rationale for colonization.
The compact expressed a community ideal of working together. When a larger exodus of Puritans established the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the s, the Pilgrims at Plymouth welcomed them and the two colonies cooperated with each other.
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The Mayflower Compact, which forty-one Pilgrim men signed on board the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor, has been called the first American governing document, predating the U. Constitution by over years. But was the Mayflower Compact a constitution? How much authority did it convey, and to whom? In the name of God, Amen. Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor 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 politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, 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 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Different labor systems also distinguished early Puritan New England from the Chesapeake colonies. Puritans expected young people to work diligently at their calling, and all members of their large families, including children, did the bulk of the work necessary to run homes, farms, and businesses.
Very few migrants came to New England as laborers; in fact, New England towns protected their disciplined homegrown workforce by refusing to allow outsiders in, assuring their sons and daughters of steady employment. The original Mayflower Compact is no longer extant; only copies, such as this ca. Unlike the exodus of young males to the Chesapeake colonies, these migrants were families with young children and their university-trained ministers. Puritan New England differed in many ways from both England and the rest of Europe.
Protestants emphasized literacy so that everyone could read the Bible. This attitude was in stark contrast to that of Catholics, who refused to tolerate private ownership of Bibles in the vernacular. The Puritans, for their part, placed a special emphasis on reading scripture, and their commitment to literacy led to the establishment of the first printing press in English America in No one could be sure whether they were predestined for salvation, but through introspection, guided by scripture, Puritans hoped to find a glimmer of redemptive grace. Church membership was restricted to those Puritans who were willing to provide a conversion narrative telling how they came to understand their spiritual estate by hearing sermons and studying the Bible.
Although many people assume Puritans escaped England to establish religious freedom, they proved to be just as intolerant as the English state church. Williams also argued for a complete separation from the Church of England, a position other Puritans in Massachusetts rejected, as well as the idea that the state could not punish individuals for their beliefs. Although he did accept that nonbelievers were destined for eternal damnation, Williams did not think the state could compel true orthodoxy.
Puritan authorities found him guilty of spreading dangerous ideas, but he went on to found Rhode Island as a colony that sheltered dissenting Puritans from their brethren in Massachusetts.
Anne Hutchinson also ran afoul of Puritan authorities for her criticism of the evolving religious practices in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Indeed, her major offense was her claim of direct religious revelation, a type of spiritual experience that negated the role of ministers. In , she was excommunicated and banished from the colony.
The following year, Algonquian warriors killed Hutchinson and her family.
In Massachusetts, Governor Winthrop noted her death as the righteous judgment of God against a heretic. Like many other Europeans, the Puritans believed in the supernatural. Hundreds were accused of witchcraft in Puritan New England, including townspeople whose habits or appearance bothered their neighbors or who appeared threatening for any reason.
Women, seen as more susceptible to the Devil because of their supposedly weaker constitutions, made up the vast majority of suspects and those who were executed. The most notorious cases occurred in Salem Village in Many of the accusers who prosecuted the suspected witches had been traumatized by the Indian wars on the frontier and by unprecedented political and cultural changes in New England. Relying on their belief in witchcraft to help make sense of their changing world, Puritan authorities executed nineteen people and caused the deaths of several others.
Like their Spanish and French Catholic rivals, English Puritans in America took steps to convert native peoples to their version of Christianity. In keeping with the Protestant emphasis on reading scripture, he translated the Bible into the local Algonquian language and published his work in Tensions had existed from the beginning between the Puritans and the native people who controlled southern New England. Relationships deteriorated as the Puritans continued to expand their settlements aggressively and as European ways increasingly disrupted native life.
When the Puritans began to arrive in the s and s, local Algonquian peoples had viewed them as potential allies in the conflicts already simmering between rival native groups.pt.noqypisi.cf
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In , the Wampanoag, led by Massasoit, concluded a peace treaty with the Pilgrims at Plymouth. In the s, the Puritans in Massachusetts and Plymouth allied themselves with the Narragansett and Mohegan people against the Pequot, who had recently expanded their claims into southern New England. To the horror of their native allies, the Puritans massacred all but a handful of the men, women, and children they found.
By the mid-seventeenth century, the Puritans had pushed their way further into the interior of New England, establishing outposts along the Connecticut River Valley. There seemed no end to their expansion. Wampanoag leader Metacom or Metacomet, also known as King Philip among the English, was determined to stop the encroachment. The Wampanoag, along with the Nipmuck, Pocumtuck, and Narragansett, took up the hatchet to drive the English from the land. The severed head of King Philip was publicly displayed in Plymouth.
The war also forever changed the English perception of native peoples; from then on, Puritan writers took great pains to vilify the natives as bloodthirsty savages. A new type of racial hatred became a defining feature of Indian-English relationships in the Northeast. Mary Rowlandson , which was published in The book was an immediate sensation that was reissued in multiple editions for over a century. In her narrative, she tells of her treatment by the Indians holding her as well as of her meetings with the Wampanoag leader Metacom b , shown in a contemporary portrait. What sustains Rowlandson her during her ordeal?
How does she characterize her captors? What do you think made her narrative so compelling to readers? The English came late to colonization of the Americas, establishing stable settlements in the s after several unsuccessful attempts in the s. After Roanoke Colony failed in , the English found more success with the founding of Jamestown in and Plymouth in The two colonies were very different in origin.
The Virginia Company of London founded Jamestown with the express purpose of making money for its investors, while Puritans founded Plymouth to practice their own brand of Protestantism without interference. Both colonies battled difficult circumstances, including poor relationships with neighboring Indian tribes. Skip to main content.
The English Wars and Republic, 1637-1660
Search for:. Visit Virtual Jamestown to access a database of contracts of indentured servants. Search it by name to find an ancestor or browse by occupation, destination, or county of origin. Explore the Salem Witchcraft Trials to learn more about the prosecution of witchcraft in seventeenth-century New England.
Puritan Relationships with Native Peoples.