Representation and Suffrage in Massachusetts, 1620-1691

Representation and Suffrage in Massachusetts, 1620-1691

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Representation and Suffrage in Massachusetts, 1620-1691

Representation and Suffrage in Massachusetts, 1620-1691

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Toleration was not a seventeenth century virtue. Least of all could it find place in the Stuart system, based upon the divine right of kings. Dissenters soon learned that they were to look for as little favor from Charles I. as they had received from his father.

It was the conviction that there was now in England no hope for their cherished reforms that moved certain Puritan leaders to attempt in America the "raising of a bulwark against the kingdom of Antichrist." The first step toward that goal was the obtaining of a land-grant from the Council for New England. But this patent conveyed simply a full title to the land, together with undisputed privileges of trade. The patentees now stood on the same footing with a number of other private commercial companies. If to trade they wished to add schemes of colonization, they must secure a grant of governing power from the Crown.

As compared with the Separatists who founded Plymouth, the Puritans who were about to plant the colony of Massachusetts Bay enjoyed great advantages. They had not definitively broken from the established order; it was as Episcopalians that they came to America. Moreover, they were men of larger means and higher social standing than the Pilgrims, and throughout England they had friends of such influence that the King could not afford to be deaf to their petitions. In March, 1629, Charles I. signed the charter under which, through many vicissitudes, the new colony was . . .

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