New England Colonies

Abigail Canela

The Beginning of the New England Colonies

  • In the year 1620, the pilgrims landed on what was known afterwards as the Plymouth colony. When the pilgrims found the Plymouth colony, it sparked the birth of the New England colonies.
  • The reason for this act was to provide a sanctuary for those escaping religious persecution back in England.
  • The New England colonies were Massachusetts (founded by the Puritans), Rhode Island (founded by Roger Williams, who disliked the Puritan leaders' beliefs, and believed that people could worship freely), Connecticut (Thomas Hooker, a minister, led about a 100 colonists to the Connecticut River because he desired for a place where all men can vote), and New Hampshire (founded by John Mason).
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The Economy of the New England Colonies

  • The economy and trade of these colonies were deeply affected by the geography and climate in the northeastern area. The colonists that lived in the towns near the coast made their living by fishing, shipbuilding, and whaling. Whale oil was a valuable item of trade because it was a necessary fuel to light up lamps.
  • The colonists had difficulties in farming because of the poor soil and the harsh climate, which brings about bitter cold and long winters. However, whenever they did farm, they had planted enough food to sustain themselves, but not for trade.

The Political/Governmental Structures of New England

Every governmental system in these colonies elected their own legislatures. The colonists soon found themselves in a situation liable for a democracy. They formed political structures that served their needs.
  • Massachusetts : Since the Puritans formed the Massachusetts Bay colony, religion affected the most of the functions of their government system, e.g, only male church members could vote observe the government. However the colony was a royal province that was operating under a charter.
  • Rhode Island: It had a chartered government, which means it was a self-governing colony. They did practiced town meetings, and the colonists were independent under their charter.
  • Connecticut: Like Rhode Island, it was a chartered colony that did not limit voting rights to the Puritan church members.
  • New Hampshire: It was governed as a royal colony because Sir Edmund Andros revoked its charter after King James II decided that the New England colonies were too independent.
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Many of the settlers that arrived to New England were basically from England, giving the region the name "New England." A majority of the population was Anglo-Saxon.

Native Americans in the New England Area:

At first, the Native Americans helped the English colonies to develop their economy. William Penn, a Quaker, believed that colonists should approach the Indians in a friendly way. He arranged to have a letter read to the Lenni Lenapi, or Delaware, the tribe that have inhabited the area of Pennsylvania. But the as the number of settlers increased, so did the tensions between Native Americans and the white settlers. One of the examples of how severe the tensions can be is the Pequot War in Connecticut, which almost eliminated the Pequot population.


The reason behind the establishment of the New England was to pursue religious freedom (to worship their God as they deemed proper), but that freedom was not fully extended to everybody. Puritans were not very tolerant of people who held differing views from their own. Puritans wanted to create a model new society called "City upon a Hill." The people who opposed the Puritans' views often flee from persecution. One of the main persons that contributed to the emergence of the colonies was Roger Williams, who opposed Puritans' views.


The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement emphasized the necessity for people to be educated. Its ideals combined confidence in human reason with skepticism toward beliefs not founded on science or strict logic.

The Great Awakening was a religious revival. It opened unprecedented splits in American Protestantism.