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I teach this class on Monday afternoon, and it's not meeting this week because of Presidents' Day, so I'm staying in the Seventeenth Century for this diary. It's inspired by a discussion question I ask all my students as part of the online activities attached to the course:

Ask most Americans why Europeans migrated to North America during the colonial era, and most of them will answer “for religious freedom.”  By extension, most American consider colonial Massachusetts – the union of two colonies settled for religious reasons--to represent colonial America as a whole, which ignores colonial Virginia.  To what extent are these impressions accurate?  Be as specific as possible in your response.
We covered Virginia last week, so now it's time to consider the two colonies that compose Massachusetts, particularly the fact that the first group of settlers have managed to escape the abuse that the second group of settlers pretty much asked for.  So follow me below the great orange Satan's magic sign for a discussion of the separatist Puritans we know as the Pilgrims and the mainstream Puritans we know as, well, the Puritans.

First, we have to deal with the term "Puritan."  It may not even be useful any more:  like many other historical terms, it was attached to the people who are described by it by their opponents, especially those on the Royalist side in the English Civil War (1642–1651) who attached it firmly to the idea of intolerance. Naturally, there's an extensive historiographical trail on this, and where it's leading is to the phrase "hot Protestant" (interesting monograph if you want to know more about the term and the argument). Anyhow, here's the image that history has lodged in our minds:

(Deacon Samuel Chapin, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1883-1886, Metropolitan Museum of Art)

But I digress.  Let's concede that the two groups of religious migrants to Massachusetts were Calvinist Protestants who wanted to see the Church of England reformed.  The fact that we use different terms to refer to the groups shows that there are issues. So to assess the reputation question, let's look at the first group -- separatist Puritans who had already migrated from England to the Netherlands in order to practice their religion without interference.  When these people began to worry that their children would forget they were English, they petitioned the Plymouth Company to settle in the upper portion of their holdings, and were granted permission to send 40 people to "New England".  Because everyone was aware of what had gone wrong at Jamestown and to ensure a secure return on their investment, the London sponsors insisted they travel with 64 “strangers” -- non-Puritan craftsmen, farmers and laborers --who would share in building the colony.

The 104 travelers boarded the Mayflower September 18 1620 and arrived on Cape Cod (where Provincetown is today), well north of the Virginia Company’s holdings.  While they waited, they wrote the Mayflower Compact.  You will hear that this was British North America's first constitution, and it was, but what it did was to give the individual householders (who had to be accepted church members) control over most civic and religious matters and thus guarantee their authority over the “strangers.” After several weeks, they found a site on the coast, and landed in December, which meant a New England winter, and about half of the Mayflower settlers didn't make it to the next spring.

These people had help that the settlers in Jamestown didn't have.  If you went to school in New England, you'll be familiar with Indians named Squanto and Samoset.  You probably won't know HOW they were able to help the Plymouth Colony Puritans unless you have a good imagination.  We know about Squanto (properly called "Tisquantum") because he was captured by English traders (in fact, by an associate of John Smith in 1614, was carried to England, and returned to Massachusetts 1619 after jumping off an English ship.  Because he could interpret for his tribe, the Wampanoags, the Indians and the Puritans concluded a treaty that survived into the 1670s.

And about the first Thanksgiving.  Well, no, because the holiday we now celebrate was dreamed up by a VERY influential woman, Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of the major women's magazine of the 19th Century, Godey's Lady's Book.  Mrs. Hale began to lobby the presidents for such a day in 1846.  She struck out with Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, but Abraham Lincoln agreed with her, and the holiday was celebrated in 1863.  Still, especially in New England people dress up as Pilgrims in late November, and political cartoons depict Pilgrims as well to make all sorts of points.  I thought I'd change the cartoon every year, but Jeff Parker of Florida Today came up with one in 2006 that was SO good I'm keeping it in the deck until something even better and more topical appears.

(Jeff Parker, Florida Today, November 1, 2006)

Plymouth Colony suffered internal dissension, but the most famous dissent was the Merry Mount settlement (near present day Wollaston). This was apparently a secular community, where the settlers drank to excess with the Indians, including Indian women. The last straw for Plymouth came when the inhabitants set up an 8-foot tall maypole, which the governor saw as a blatant demonstration of paganism.  Thomas Morton, the head of the community, was arrested and deported in 1628; once back in England, he published an anti-Puritan tract (the three-volume New England Canaan) in 1637 that ridiculed and condemned the rigidity of the Plymouth colonists.  Nathanael Hawthorne wrote a story about this, included in Twice-Told Tales, called "The Maypole of Merry Mount", and here's an illustration:

(Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1882)

So paganism.  Not as bad as the other Puritans, mainstream Puritans who had stayed in England, 14,000 of whom arrived (along with 10,000 "strangers") between 1630 and 1640 to settle the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Connecticut, New Haven, New Hampshire, and (not intentionally on their part) Rhode Island.  This settlement, especially Boston, was intended to serve as example to a sinful world, but migration had three significant limits:  1) MOST English Puritans stayed in England; 2) New England emigrants represented no more than 30% all English who came to British North America during 1630s, and, 3) the Puritans who stayed in England saw this migration as hindering their efforts for religious reform at home.

We know what this settlement did to establish the country we live in today:  Remarkable literacy, commitment to the education of children and Puritan ministers (Harvard College was founded in 1636), and the first printing press in British North America.  We also know that religious liberty in Puritan New England wasn’t what we think of when we say religious liberty. The migration that John Winthrop led in 1630 had consisted of a group of wealthy merchants who converted their charter to a self-governing colony thousands of miles from the king and the bishops of the Church of England.     At the very least, they hoped it would be a refuge from the divine punishments the separatists expected to be incurred by the wicked English nation. Church membership, which was synonymous with citizenship, was limited to “visible saints,” those who could publicly and persuasively recount a conversion experience; only full members who were male could govern the church, and it was because of this that they worked hard to keep dissenters out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Yes, Roger Williams was banished in 1636, and Anne Hutchinson in 1638, but this wasn't the worst thing these people did in the way of intolerance.

So I give you two cases in which people who disagreed with the Puritan leadership actually died at the hands of the Puritans: the Pequot War, and a 1658 law that prohibited Quakers from traveling to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  The narrative concerning the Pequot War is derived from a remarkable book: Sarah Vowell, The Wordy Shipmates (2008) which is an absolute must read.  First, the mainstream Puritans imagined, as is evident from their Great Seal, that they were on a mission -- nay, invited on a mission -- to help the natives of New England:

(in effect 1629-1686, 1689-1692)

Vowell points out that William McKinley imagined the same thing about the Philippines and the George W. Bush administration imagined the same thing about Iraq.  Anyhow, the settlers of Connecticut, attracted by bigger land grants, followed their minister, Rev. Thomas Hooker (no, the term doesn't even come from the name of a person) to the banks of the Connecticut River to found the city of Hartford. The Pequot Indians, who were attempting to control the trade on the lower Connecticut River and had already made an alliance with the Massachusetts Bay colony (in 1635, to make sure the Pequot didn't keep trading with the Dutch), balked at the incursion, and this led to war.  I'll just skip to the event that ended the war here. On May 25, 1637, in league with the Mohegans and the Narragansetts, the Connecticut forces encircled the settlement where Sassacus, the Pequot sachem, had his headquarters, and started a battle. I'll let Vowell tell you what happened next:

[Captain John] Mason [one of the commanders of the Connecticut militia] is hit with arrows and Underhill's hip is grazed,  Mason is faced, on a smaller scale, with the same problem Harry Truman would have when he was forced to ponder the logistics of invading Japan in 1945 . . . The Puritan commander, in a smaller, grubbier, lower-tech way, arrives at the same conclusion as Truman when he ordered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Mason says "We must burn them." And they do.
In Mason's account of the war, he observes that as many as seven hundred people, women and children included, were "utterly destroyed" -- meaning burned alive in their homes.


Again, here's Vowell, on Mason:

[Mason] praises the Lord for "burning them up in the fire of his wrath, and dunging the ground with their flesh.  It is the Lord's doings, and it is marvelous in our eyes!" That might be the creepiest exclamation point in American literature.  No, wait -- it's this one:  "Thus did the Lord judge among the heathen, filling the place with dead bodies!"
The remaining Pequots are hunted down by the Mohegans and the Narragansetts who decapitate some of them and send their severed heads to the English. Boston sells others into slavery in Bermuda.  The colony proclaims a day of thanksgiving June 15, 1637 "for the victory obtained against the Pequot."  That's a BIG difference from Plymouth and its peaceful relations with the Wampanoags.

There's a punchline to this.  The remnants of the Pequot tribe have a major hotel and casino, the Foxwoods Resort, operating in Ledyard, Connecticut on the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation. A way to separate the descendents of the Puritans from their money.


But, as they say, there's more. The Puritans continued to be dismayed by people who promoted alternate forms of Protestantism, and John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts, denounced “lawlessness of liberty of conscience” as an invitation to heresy and anarchy, and eventually to divine anger and punishment. No Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists or Quakers were welcome; they were given liberty to keep away from Connecticut and Massachusetts, and if they did arrive, they were tried, convicted and exiled as Anne Hutchinson had been. In 1658,  Massachusetts passed an especially strict set of anti-Quaker laws that decreed any Quaker found in Massachusetts would be sentenced to banishment upon pain of death. After three Quaker missionaries – Marmaduke Stephenson, William Robinson, and Mary Dyer, who had been a strong supporter of Anne Hutchinson -- were indeed put to death in 1660, the Quakers made an extra effort to publicize their mistreatment.  In 1959, Massachusetts put up a statue of Mary Dyer in front of the State House, in Boston:


Killing people for dissenting religious beliefs appears to be why later historians tried to wall off the Plymouth Colony from the rest of the Puritans who settled New England.  It's understandable.

So that's the settlement of some of Southern New England by people who believed in religious freedom for themselves, but not for other people.  Next time, stuff you should know about Benjamin Franklin, who's even more important in world history and the economic history of the United States than you might have imagined.

5:13 PM PT: Thanks for the reposts!  Only one of them was my own.

6:14 PM PT: and thanks for the rec list!  My first diary in this series didn't get there!

7:02 PM PT: Updated to fix some typos and to add a section on the Pequots' revenge on Massachusetts and Connecticut, a few centuries later.

Originally posted to Dave in Northridge on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 12:34 PM PST.

Also republished by History for Kossacks, Genealogy and Family History Community, Massachusetts Kosmopolitans, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Puritans and Puritans -- pilgrims? (147+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast, Azazello, Marie, grannycarol, confitesprit, Gooserock, ProfessorWho, pimutant, klompendanser, Ojibwa, CA ridebalanced, raina, Wreck Smurfy, sow hat, radarlady, Sara R, skrekk, NonnyO, Mary Mike, jlms qkw, BobBlueMass, DawnN, jwinIL14, mollyd, Mariken, Youffraita, Andrew F Cockburn, ChocolateChris, 207wickedgood, gizmo59, Clytemnestra, IreGyre, bleeding heart, jack 1966, yet another liberal, old wobbly, Bluesee, Missys Brother, timewarp, PeterHug, a2nite, 2thanks, Its any one guess, GAS, YucatanMan, MinistryOfTruth, MadRuth, LynChi, Catesby, Horace Boothroyd III, Lilyvt, Jay C, Notreadytobenice, devtob, blueoasis, Jim R, TexMex, bibble, Land of Enchantment, howabout, bnasley, quarkstomper, litho, brook, millwood, ladybug53, bobinson, Wendy Slammo, sfgb, revsue, Themistoclea, Ignacio Magaloni, NotGeorgeWill, maggiejean, ZedMont, Williston Barrett, commonmass, Unitary Moonbat, Alice Venturi, Mathazar, AZphilosopher, ord avg guy, thomask, dotsright, beforedawn, Nulwee, Clues, samddobermann, Bulldawg, BRog, litoralis, Egalitare, Debbie in ME, marleycat, missLotus, letsgetreal, jjhalpin, SallyCat, Ohkwai, DamselleFly, dionys1, Hill Jill, jfromga, milkbone, Gary Norton, MNGrandma, I C Mainer, J M F, Setsuna Mudo, mkfarkus, The Pollster, gatorcog, Barbara Marquardt, FinchJ, reddog1, Dave925, figbash, gardenkitty, kathny, rmabelis, Shadowmage36, Evolutionary, trumpeter, vmibran, kurt, triplepoint, science nerd, US Blues, LeighAnn, idahojim, charliehall2, Portlaw, admiralh, Gorette, Lily O Lady, AZ Sphinx Moth, winkk, AshesAllFallDown, ZappoDave, psnyder, wonmug, dougymi, jgilhousen, TayTay, kait, TexDem, Andrew C White

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 12:34:06 PM PST

    •  what about the Dorchester Company 1623/24? (8+ / 0-)

      They came to Cape Ann, Massachussetts and later moved to Naumkeag (place of cod), which they renamed Salem.  Originally they were going to have a cod-drying station and agriculture to supply the cod fishermen who had been visiting the area for decades (or longer--see Mark Kurlasnsky's book, Cod).  They were Puritans, but not Separatists, so they had disagreements with the Massachusetts Bay folks.  

      I'm very confused about all the charters and settlements and was hoping for some more clarification here.  At any rate, these folks--Roger Conant,, were funded as a commercial venture, though they took advantage of the opportunity to set up their own Dissident churches.    

      Corrections welcome!

      Against stupidity the gods themselves fight in vain. Schiller

      by deweyrose on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 04:57:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I must have been reading the wrong sources (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jay C, dotsright, rmabelis

        Of course, a major tip-off SHOULD come when John Cotton and Roger Williams arrive in 1632 because Salem wanted them and find an established community.  Of course, isn't Salem far enough north of Plymouth so they wouldn't have had disagreements with the Plymouth folks (the Mass Bay people weren't Separatists either).

        Beside, this diary was meant to establish that "separatist" was a tactic and the core religious beliefs of the two groups were alike, so . . .

        All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

        by Dave in Northridge on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:09:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't really know-- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I read about it and still come away confused.  But in a visit to Beverly I heard a local historian talk about a brief confrontation with Miles Standish and some of his men (although Standish himself wasn't a Puritan was he?).  And when the 1630s fleet came, the old Salem people moved to Beverly and set up another church--they had to get permission to do so from the home church in Salem--so they could continue to use the Book of Common Prayer, which the newcomers had repudiated.

          There are so many paradigm shifts required to take this in that I can't keep it straight.

          Against stupidity the gods themselves fight in vain. Schiller

          by deweyrose on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:31:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Like I said--I'm confused by it all (0+ / 0-)

            I guess I meant to say disagreements and confrontation with the Plimouth Colony, not Massachusetts Bay.  I need visual aids!

            Against stupidity the gods themselves fight in vain. Schiller

            by deweyrose on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:38:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Salem and Beverly and Gloucester parted ways (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            deweyrose, Bluesee

            Salem was the "shire" town (think county seat) of that district and had say over how the lands around them were settled.  Towns in early MA broke off gradually then sought permission to incorporate and conduct their own affairs as  legally functioning entities apart from, but connected to,  the parent community.

            BTW, Salem, Beverly, Gloucester, Newburyport and so forth have fascinating unfolding histories.  Salem is a port town and is more diverse than the later inland communities. Salem gets a bad rap from the whole witchcraft thing, which happened at a more inland and insulated community (Danvers.)

            Gloucester has a wonderful history that you might find highly entertaining.  MA was not uniformly the same; communities began to differentiate quite early on.  Gloucester, because it was nearly an island, has it's own unique history as a port town that you might enjoy reading.

      •  Maps and info on Native peoples in MA in 1600s (0+ / 0-)

        A list of the tribes in MA on Access genealogy site.

        It is also informative to look up the history of the Penacook, who are listed as New Hampshire tribes, though the borders between MA and NH are not applicable here.  The Nashaway, which gave us the name Nashua, were Merrimack Valley inhabitants.  

  •  Good diary, thanks. (41+ / 0-)

    I will add my favorite Gore Vidal quote: The pilgrims came to America, not to escape religious persecution, but to practice it.

  •  Looking forward to the next installment. (19+ / 0-)

    As a descendant of the FFV I'm always a bit irked about the Pilgrims. Mostly the amount of times they're called the "first English settlers" (note how they carefully skate around the Spanish). Even that popular "Schoolhouse Rock" series gets it wrong. Last time I checked 1607 is about 13 years before 1620. Argh.

    "What profit a man, if he gain the world, but has to pay taxes on it?" Paul 8:36

    From the Gospel of St. Ron Paul in the Teachings and Misunderstandings of the Words of Adam Smith

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 12:48:57 PM PST

  •  You wrote "petitioned the Plymouth Company..." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, Gary Norton

    You meant "Virginia Company," right?

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 12:50:36 PM PST

  •  I have a question: (13+ / 0-)

    Is that 'history', which our Founding Fathers would have studied and known, the reason for passing the First Amendment stating ..."Congress shall pass no laws respecting an establishment of religion..."?

    Since it was difficult enough to unite 13 individual colonies, bringing religion into the mixture would have been impossible.

    Regardless of the reason the settlers arrived, the birth of our country happened a hundred years later.

    And Benjamin Franklin is my all time favorite historical figure.  I am eagerly awaiting your report on him.

    How he played the French should be required reading for all diplomats.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 12:55:59 PM PST

  •  Thank you. Mary Dyer, Quaker was threatened (19+ / 0-)

    with death if she didn't "abjure and renounce her ways".

    Meaning of course drop to her knees and welcome the authority of the patriarchs of Massachusetts Bay at Boston.  Second time she returned, she was hanged.

    Sort of like what our little Ricky  Santorum, the professional bigot is all about.

    First we burn the Iranians. then we come for the other American unbelievers, the spawns of Satan who have betrayed the Christian Ways. He knows all about it with the certitude of the true believer willing to shed blood (somebody else's natch) for his ideas and views.

    Sorry to mix this in with the puritan thing, but one can see Santorum's strain of moral sword brandishing and threats as descended directly from an unsavory legacy of our history.

    Just another Jesus freak politician and activist.  He missed his calling. He should have been a fourteenth century Inquisitor  in Spain or Italy or the Netherlands.

    He really could have enjoyed himself back then and there.

    If you think that you and a bunch of other people can just show up on Wall St, camp out and have any effect whatsoever.... well, you will be run off in 20 minutes., you will leave town having wasted your effort 6/18/11.

    by BeeDeeS on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 12:56:17 PM PST

    •  I am an historian of the Reformation (4+ / 0-)

      and Counter-Reformation.  A very interesting topic for an atheist, as we don't pick sides.

      But it is still horrifying to see what people are willing to do in order to enforce conformity in faith.

      And as much as I'd like to believe we have put that behind us, I am afraid you are right.

    •  The early Quakers were confrontational (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, SallyCat

      when they went into Massachusetts.  They would shout at the ministers during church services and, on a couple of occasions, go naked through the towns.  Nevertheless, the Puritan churches of Massachusetts refused to accept any competing beliefs.  Those who didn't accept this authority had to leave.

      Create. Build. Serve. Encourage. Teach.

      by algebrateacher on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 08:54:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most American fundamentalists point to Puritan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge

      New England with pride, especially the Pilgrims who came first, as being "the first Americans" and defining what America is about, and (most importantly) as proof that America was conceived as a Christian nation.

      The funny thing is, I've even known Southerners who bought the line on the Pilgrims. The Jamestown settlers were here first, and that was a commercial venture, not to mention an Anglican colony.

      "Mistress of the Topaz" is now available in paperback! Link here:

      by Kimball Cross on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:13:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I intended to address American exceptionalism (0+ / 0-)

        and I will at some point, using your comment as a springboard for it.  Very very true.

        All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

        by Dave in Northridge on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:38:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Plymouth vs Jamestown (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave in Northridge

        As a descendant of both a Mayflower 'sinner" and a Virginia Company 1610 immigrant, and having read quite a bit about both men, I think both places were hotbeds of politics and opportunism, cloaked in religion as necessary to achieve wealth and power.  
        My MA ancestor came to make his fortune and was a real SOB in business matters, while my VA ancestor was successful in several business ventures and appears to have paid lip service to Anglicanism as a practical matter.
        In my line of 19th century descendants of these men, everyone was certain that the northerners were vastly superior to the 'hoosiers' (defined as anyone from the south), and passed that certainty on to us as truth.  
        Mayflower Descendants must have had a better PR machine than Jamestown/ Virginia Colony descendants.

  •  Were the founders of Hartford and the army... (6+ / 0-)

    that attacked the Pequods from Plymouth Colony, or Massachusetts Bay, or both?

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 12:57:46 PM PST

  •  I learned a lot from this. (10+ / 0-)

    I teach American History at a state university, but there's not much time to dwell on the differences among the Puritan settlements. I was aware of the conflict, but not the details. Thanks for this. Looking forward to the Ben Franklin installment.

    Painting the ivory tower beige.

    by ProfessorWho on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 12:58:29 PM PST

    •  I know about the time limitations, VERY well (6+ / 0-)

      This is actually longer than my lecture notes on this material.  It might be the fact I'm from Massachusetts originally that makes me sensitive to all this.

      What state do you teach in?

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 01:13:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Utah. (5+ / 0-)

        (But I went to grade school in Boston.) I do make time in my lectures to discuss the fact that religious immigration is largely a myth, and that most immigrants came to the colonies for economic reasons. Somehow the American story came to be all about the Puritans, and I'm unclear as to how that happened. I need to brush up on my historiography a bit.  I'm pretty sure the myth was in place long before the Sarah Hale-Thanksgiving holiday came about, because I know there were several founding fathers  in the late 1700s who were upset over the Puritans' cultural dominance.

        Painting the ivory tower beige.

        by ProfessorWho on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 06:07:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great! (4+ / 0-)

          We should probably do some note-sharing on this, because I'm not entirely clear on the historiography of it either.  Send me a message here, and we can start the exchange.

          All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

          by Dave in Northridge on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 06:34:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Daniel Webster (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hill Jill, ProfessorWho

            DW delivered a speech in Plymouth on Dec. 22, 1820, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the founding of a certain colony there. There are those who think that this speech was the seed crystal around which the romanticism about the Pilgrims grew. It bled over onto the Puritans by association. When the waves of immigrants started showing up, the people who had already been here for generations clung to the romantic view of the Puritans as a way to differentiate themselves from all the nouveau riff-raff. It's not a complete answer to your question, but it gives you a place to start.

            The whole point of society is to be less unforgiving than nature. - Arthur D. Hlavaty

            by Alice Venturi on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 10:01:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I've always said this country was founded by (10+ / 0-)

    Right Wing Religious Fundamentalists

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 01:23:33 PM PST

    •  Completely agree Z (3+ / 0-)

      The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

      by a2nite on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:34:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But think of William Penn and the Duke of York (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      algebrateacher, zenbassoon, marleycat

      The Duke of York set up New York and New Jersey so that any settler was welcome regardless of religious belief. William Penn did the same in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Before we thank them for their altruism we should consider that they were landlords who wanted to collect rent on their land. Religious discrimination was bad for business.

      What happens if I can't come up with a snappy sig line?

      by bobinson on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 07:26:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  William Penn did not set it up quite that way. (5+ / 0-)

        William Penn intended for the Pennsylvania colony to be a refuge for Christian pacifists.  His intention was for it to be a safe place for Friends (Quakers) to escape the oppression that they experienced in England.  But he issued a call to all "peace-loving" Christians throughout Europe to help colonize it, and that is why various Christian pacifist sects from the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland such as Mennonites, Amish, and Dunkers/German Baptists/Brethren emigrated there to escape their homeland persecutions and become the "Pennsylvania Dutch".  However, Quakers lost control of the colonial legislature when they chose to give up their seats rather than provide funding for the British Crown's colonial Indian wars.  That allowed non-pacifists to step in and take control.  But the colony was not intended for just anyone regardless of belief.

      •  Nevertheless New York did have an Established (0+ / 0-)

        Church: The Church of England. Jews could not serve in the colonial Assembly. Things were better than in Massachusetts or Connecticut, but not perfect.

    •  No, it was founded by gold-seekers in Jamestown (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenbassoon, SallyCat, Hill Jill, MNGrandma

      who soon discovered Virginia wasn't Mexico, and they could make more money growing tobacco.

      Actually, none of the colonial foundations had anything to do with the founding of "America." All the colonists were loyal subjects of the King (or briefly in some places, the Dutch) until some time in the 1770s.

      It was the American revolution that forged our political identity as Americans. As a Southerner, I often think America wasn't definitely one nation for good and all until 1865.

      "Mistress of the Topaz" is now available in paperback! Link here:

      by Kimball Cross on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:18:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But they aren't the same people, zenb, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge, zenbassoon, kurt

      who founded the government, who wrote the Constitution.  I'd like to think that the people who wrote the Constitution, the founding "Fathers" so to speak, learned lessons from the original settlers in that they didn't envision a country ruled by religious intolerance.  

      At least that's what I understand.  But my picture of history from 1500s to early 1700s is murky.  I'm sure commenters on this thread who are well-versed on this can clarify.  Very interesting diary.

      Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

      by gatorcog on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:49:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Migwitch. (11+ / 0-)

    Since I have a tendency to view history through a Native American perspective, this provides some additional insights.

  •  just a note that I'm continuing to republish (7+ / 0-)

    these to the genealogy & family history group.

    I have ancestors in both the "1620" and "1630" groups and have diaried some of their day-to-day experiences in what I fondly refer to as my cranky ancestor series. Again, this series is so great to help put everything into the larger context.

    While some of my ancestors certainly had their share of religious zeal, others were in continous trouble for not conforming, and at least one Irish Catholic indentured servant ancestor who paid an immense physical and monetary price for refusing to convert.

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 01:34:53 PM PST

  •  A recent book (11+ / 0-)

    I found quite illuminating was Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War (Viking). Definitely not the Pilgrims of our grade-school classes.

    Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life? -- Mary Oliver

    by Mnemosyne on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 02:30:09 PM PST

    •  One of my students is reading this (10+ / 0-)

      Isn't the complicated messy story always more interesting (and more accurate) than the simple sanitized story in history anyway?

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 02:59:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  this book is particularly interesting (3+ / 0-)

        because it points out the extent of racism that has been present in the "new" country from the get-go, especially when considered from our modern viewpoint. From the viewpoint of their time, not so much.

        In comparison, the old standard Saints and Sinners, by George F. Willison (1945, but I think there are fairly recent reprints out) focuses only on the Pilgrims and their travels via Holland to the new world.

        It's useful to remember what was going on in England at the time: Good Queen Bess and her successors weren't exactly models of religious tolerance.

        Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life? -- Mary Oliver

        by Mnemosyne on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 03:16:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, Good Queen Bess was better than her sister, (5+ / 0-)

          who had burned Protestants at the stake. Under Elizabeth I, if you kept your nose clean and kept a low profile, you could reasonably expect to be let alone. (Not "tolerated", just let alone. The Church of England - which Elizabeth put some major spit-and-polish on - was the "official" religion, but she wasn't big on persecuting any folks who were quietly minding their own business.)

          Her successor, James I (also James VI of Scotland), was a genuine weirdo and much more of a busybody. And his son, Charles I, was a pigheaded git.

          If it's
          Not your body,
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          And it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:15:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not that much better (7+ / 0-)

            Let's see.  Mary, around 300 burnings of Protestants.  Elizabeth, the expulsion of the Jesuits and around 200 hangings of Catholics.  The four Stuart kings threatened the English Puritans by seeming more and more favorable to the Catholic Church, and they beheaded one (Charles I, the pigheaded git) and engineered a bloodless coup against a second (James II) when it looked like he was going to raise his son and heir Catholic.

            Thanks for your comment, because it points out how important it is to know who's telling the story - always.

            All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

            by Dave in Northridge on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 06:13:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  "IF you kept...a low profile" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Land of Enchantment

              Not everybody did - there was an active Catholic dissident element in Elizabethan society. (Egged on by people like the Pope, the King of Spain (Bloody Mary's ex-husband), and Mary Queen of Scots (who got run out of Scotland and coveted Elizabeth's throne as compensation).

              If you broke the laws or were disrespectful (or worse) of the Queen, then of course she'd sic the Law on you. But if you shut up and obeyed the laws, she might have you watched on general principles but she wouldn't do anything unless you did.

              I'm not going there with the Stuarts - they were mostly losers, except possibly for Charles II. (And we wouldn't have had to worry about James II if Charles had been able to get a legitimate heir. It was probably not for want of trying - Charlie was a horny rascal.)

              If it's
              Not your body,
              Then it's
              Not your choice
              And it's
              None of your damn business!

              by TheOtherMaven on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 06:59:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Mary reigned for five years (0+ / 0-)

              Elizabeth for 50.   60 executions a year vs 4, by the numbers you give.

          •  That's not true (4+ / 0-)

            The father of the person for whom I took my screen name was imprisoned for decades and fined heavily for being a Catholic.  Under Queen Elizabeth.

            Catholics were not allowed to travel for more than a certain distance beyond their homes, and we subject to frequent searches and blackmail and imprisonment.

            If you ever get the chance, read the biography of John Gerard, and the torture he underwent in the Tower of London under Queen Elizabeth to get him to out Catholics in England.  It is harrowing.

            Considering that the country had been Catholic until the time of Elizabeth's father, I'd say the measures she took were barbaric.

            And I'm an atheist.  But I know injustice when I see it.  And both sides had major problems.

            •  Considering that the Pope ordered a hit on her, (0+ / 0-)

              Philip II tried to invade her country (at least twice), and Mary Queen of Scots connived with everybody she could get in contact with, not to mention some two hundred other plots by both high and low....

              it's not surprising that Elizabeth became less tolerant as she grew older. (Your buddy Gerard was a Jesuit priest who was in the country illegally to begin with, and appears to have been associated with some of the known seditious elements in England. The big problem with the Jesuits, as well as others, was that they did not recognize Elizabeth as the rightful monarch. That, she had every reason to crack down on.)

              As for barbaric practices, torture was Standard Operating Procedure across all of Europe and many other places. Doesn't make it right, and does mean that society had a lot of evolving yet to do.

              English society had gone through a double whiplash. Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church, confiscated the Church's possessions, and generally behaved like a bigoted (and greedy) tyrant. Bloody Mary tried to force the people back to Catholicism with fire and sword, and even made Elizabeth pay lip service to the Pope. (The people, who started out loving Mary, ended by hating her.) Elizabeth wanted to just live and let live, but she couldn't afford to tolerate any dissension or disloyalty - and her definitions of both grew broader over the years.

              On the whole, the Tudors are not among my favorite people.

              If it's
              Not your body,
              Then it's
              Not your choice
              And it's
              None of your damn business!

              by TheOtherMaven on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 10:54:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  And Charles I's successor, Oliver Cromwell, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            was the prototype of modern dictators.

            "Mistress of the Topaz" is now available in paperback! Link here:

            by Kimball Cross on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:21:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  In more ways than one! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              He was responsible for one of the first modern genocides, against the Irish. (At about the same time, Ukrainians were doing the same to Jews. Ironically, the one decent thing Cromwell ever did was to allow Jews back into England. As a Jew with some Irish Catholic ancestors, I have some qualms about giving Cromwell credit.)

          •  One of the great failings in teaching (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mnemosyne, charliehall2

            early American history is that it always seems to ignore what was going on in Europe at the time - I never learned why the New England settlers came over in the first place (except for vague references to religious "liberty").

            Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

            by milkbone on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:21:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is being corrected, but slowly (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              milkbone, Mnemosyne, meralda

              Two books come to mind here:

              Thomas Bender, A nation among nations : America's place in world history (2006).  

              Daniel Richter, Before the Revolution : America's ancient pasts (2011).

              Bender's is a context book, while Richter constructs a new narrative from 1400 to 1700 (and completely revises how we should think of the Dutch in world history during the 17th century).

              There are probably more by now.

              All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

              by Dave in Northridge on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:33:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  The Thirty Years War (0+ / 0-)

              should have resulted in much larger emigration to America, but it was still quite difficult to get across the Atlantic.

    •  A friend of mine recommended the Mayflower (3+ / 0-)

      book to me because I currently have an interest in that time period and the Puritans.  I picked it up at Barnes & Noble last week and it is on my list of books to read soon.

      In politics stupidity is not a handicap.

      by LynChi on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:42:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My town of Milford, Connecticut, (12+ / 0-)

    (the town I attended high school in; haven't lived there since 1969) was founded by Puritans who thought MA Bay wasn't strict enough.

    And New Haven  had one interesting blue law: no one could take a bath in the horse trough in front of the Congregational Church on the  Green between the hours 8 and noon on Sunday. Apparently it was just fine to bathe there at other times.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 03:25:05 PM PST

  •  technical issue (2+ / 0-)

    you've got a typo in the 5th paragraph after the orange gnocchi. Looks like a duplicated sentence/passage that's a tad bit confusing to the reader.

    I really learned something from reading the rest of the diary though.  thanks!

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 03:50:57 PM PST

  •  It's the friggin' 21st Century puritans (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, revsue, milkbone

    pissing me off with their fucking paranoia that somebody, somewhere might be enjoying themselves.

    Puritans are assholes.

    #occupywallstreet: Although I know the rhythm you'd prefer me dancing to, I'll turn my revolt into style.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:15:47 PM PST

  •  Did you see the 2004 PBS production Colonial House (6+ / 0-)

    with modern families living in a 1628 New England village?  The "colonists" were supposed to have had intensive training for 2 weeks, but they didn't seem to have taken in the economic realities.  Two of them were ministers--Lutheran and Southern Baptist, and they seemed to think they would recreate a religion-centered community (though with different precepts).  Another couple thought they were going to a pre-industrial back-to-nature simplicity.  No one was prepared for the amount of labor involved in sending back  profits to their English corporate sponsors.

    I was hoping that some episodes were online, but here
    is a cleaned-up description of the progrram.

    Against stupidity the gods themselves fight in vain. Schiller

    by deweyrose on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:24:11 PM PST

  •  Hate the Puritans....,, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment

    RW Xtians= worse than Puritans.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:33:13 PM PST

  •  This is so cool (10+ / 0-)

    as a history nerd, I seriously appreciate this diary.

    Tipped, rec'd, FB'd, tweeted, all that and a bag of chips


    #OccupyWallStreet ~ I will protest when and where I damn well please. I have the constitution in my pocket. That is my permit.

    by MinistryOfTruth on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:52:31 PM PST

  •  I recently read a book about Roger Williams. (6+ / 0-)

    The book is not a biography. It is Roger Williams and The Creation of the American Soul.  The author is John M. Barry.

    The book explores Williams time in England and then his time in Massachusetts.  He was a fierce advocate of separation of church and state and because of this was banished from "the city on the hill."  The book is very detailed - so much so that I feel that I should read it again.

    Williams, of course, founded Rhode Island which was no easy matter.  When I look back at what Williams went through I see a lot of parallels with today's politics.

    In politics stupidity is not a handicap.

    by LynChi on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 05:58:10 PM PST

  •  One of my ancestors (8+ / 0-)

    helped settle Kittery Point, Maine in 1639.  It was part of a grant given to Sir Ferdinando Gorges.  A family house still stands there.

    But my ancestor was very different from the Puritans.  He came from Portsmouth, England, and was a businessman in the fishing industry.  He moved to Kittery to establish a shipbuilding yard to take advantage of the fisheries in that area.

    He left his wife back in England, and visited home frequently enough to give her several children, which followed him to the colony when they were old enough.  His wife finally moved over when he died.  There must have been a real story there.

    From what I understand, he and his fellow seafaring Anglican friends, who probably drank and swore and womanized, absolutely hated their Puritan neighbors to the south.

    I don't suppose they had a whole lot in common.

  •  The Pequot's own Foxwood casino... (6+ / 0-)

    They have an excellent museum:

    About 7 miles away is the Mohegan Sun Casino:

    Massachusetts just approved the building of 3 casinos and designates 1 for Wampanoag ownership.

    The Narrangansets has been trying to build a casino for many years. Rhode Island is very opposed.
    Roger Williams must be turning over in his grave.

  •  I've been thinking about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobinson, Ignacio Magaloni

    ... this period of late, thanks to genealogical work.  Great background for the larger forces behind the individual stories.  Love it!

    Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden 8/10/09)

    by Land of Enchantment on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 06:48:16 PM PST

    •  Thank you! (2+ / 0-)

      klompendanser says he's republishing all of these to the family history and genealogy group.  We'll see if the next diary, which will be about what people don't know about Benjamin Franklin (as in ALL research into electricity EVERYWHERE begins with the key and the kite experiment) is actually republished there, but I see you'll have it show up in your stream anyway.

      I'm really glad people like these.  I had no idea before I saw the response to my first diary in the series last week.

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 07:38:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Drinnon, Facing West tells a similar (0+ / 0-)

    story to that of Vowell. Starts with Merry Mount, goes through the Pequot War, Indian fighting in the West, the Philippine War, and Vietnam. Stops there, about the time of writing.

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 07:03:46 PM PST

  •  are there any remaining Wampanoag people? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, Notreadytobenice

    Are there still groups or people with Wampanoag identity or any organization left? I have been really trying to find this out...I have searched a lot and can find almost nothing. Any help would be most appreciated.

  •  As a descendent of French Huguenots (3+ / 0-)

    in New Amsterdam, I've always been annoyed by the status given pilgrims. I'm sure the descendents of the Swedes and Dutch are a little pissed, too.


  •  Divine Punishment (3+ / 0-)
    At the very least, they hoped it would be a refuge from the divine punishments the separatists expected to be incurred by the wicked English nation.
    And I'd say that's exactly what happened in short order. Although it's a tossup as to which was the real punishment:
    • The death of the "nation" as represented by the monarch Charles I, and the Civil Wars leading up to that point
    • The institution by Cromwell and the Puritans of just the sort of government you would expect Puritans to set up.


  •  Was that really why they left The Netherlands? (4+ / 0-)

    I seem to recall something about not being able to stand the religious freedom practiced by the Dutch, which was attracting some of their children, even though religious freedom is why they went there in the first place. Certainly going to an unknown continent would not be my choice for trying to enforce a memory of my homeland on my children.

    Reasons for departure are suggested by Bradford, when he notes the "discouragements" of the hard life they had in the Netherlands, and the hope of attracting others by finding "a better, and easier place of living"; the "children" of the group being "drawn away by evil examples into extravagance and dangerous courses"; the "great hope, for the propagating and advancing the gospell of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world."

    Bradford, William (1898) [1651]. Hildebrandt, Ted. ed (PDF). Bradford's History "Of Plimoth Plantation". Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Co.. Retrieved 2008-11-28.

    Busting the Dog Whistle code.

    by Mokurai on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 08:40:30 PM PST

    •  It's one of the reasons (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, Notreadytobenice

      and you can't get everything into every lesson, even in the 48 hours allocated to a regular course.

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 08:44:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The danger of "mixing," the availability of jobs, (2+ / 0-)

      the dominant Dutch culture...there were lots of reasons why the Separatists/Pilgrims left the Netherlands.

      As a group, they were pretty poor and were hoping for a successful economic enterprise to go along with their religious interests.  Their new land Puritan neighbors were far better off; as a group, they were middle class to upper middle class (these standards are modern ideas laid on their reality).

      Create. Build. Serve. Encourage. Teach.

      by algebrateacher on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 09:26:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Netherlands had religious freedom (horror) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge

      to the point that it was the one place in all of Western Europe where Jews could live. It was Jews from the Netherlands who accidentally started the Jewish community of America in New Amsterdam in 1654. Peter Stuyvesant, the colonial governor, was an anti-Semite and tried to kick us out, but he got overruled by his superiors in Europe.

  •  My GGGGGG Grandfather is William Bradford. (6+ / 0-)

    I just thought I'd throw that out there because I'm totally awesome.

    Liberals: Taking crap for being right since before you were born. - Driftglass (and the amazing Professional Left Podcast at

    by briefer on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 08:46:26 PM PST

  •  As a native of Massachusetts I must say: (6+ / 0-)

    History prof or not, you really know your 17th C. New England history!

    What I find funny, and always have, however, is that the history books HS students always seem to forget the fact that the part of the eventual Mass Bay Colony which was settled first were the islands and coast of what is now Mid-Coast Maine. The town of Thomaston, just up the peninsula from where I live, was permanently settled by 1609 and has been, continuously, ever since. Monhegan Island was a fishing way-station very early on as well.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat

    by commonmass on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 08:51:50 PM PST

  •  There's a well known saying in Australia (3+ / 0-)

    Thank god America got the Puritans, and Australia got the convicts.

    you don't believe in evolution, you understand it. you believe in the FSM.

    by Mathazar on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 09:13:03 PM PST

  •  Very well done! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Puritans - the ones then and the modern variety now - are one of those subjects that make history interesting to read, in a Chinese-curse sort of way. Their "errand in the wilderness" had ramifications we're still trying to deal with.

    So, when are you going to write about the Maryland colony, and the Act of Toleration? It makes a great contrast to the Puritans.

    The whole point of society is to be less unforgiving than nature. - Arthur D. Hlavaty

    by Alice Venturi on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 09:13:30 PM PST

    •  Thanks, and maybe in the fall (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      One of the first comment threads for this diary talks about the Act of Toleration -- the one that grannycarol started.  It only lasted for three years, and the subsequent anti-Catholic Acts weren't repealed until 1776.

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 10:09:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good English History Site (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This period was the run up to the first round of the English Civil War.  There were also the pissed off Catholics, who got blamed for Guy Fawkes "Gunpowder Plot."

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 10:13:29 PM PST

  •  Your series is a lot of fun (note aside below) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Ohkwai

    not to mention educational. I think it must be fun to be one of your students!
    Talk about religious intolerance. When the right wingnuts talk about how this nation was formed, they should think about the fact that no one got along back then because of their varying religions. And while they might have come here to escape religious persecution, they did plenty of their own once they got here!

    ASIDE: Speaking of Nathaniel Hawthorne, did you know that he changed his name from HATHORNE, adding the "W" because of a relative from whom he wanted to disassociate himself?
    In our local area is a hill named Hathorne Hill. The land was deeded to the Hathorne family by England. Judge Hathorne was instrumental in the "Salem" witch hunts (a very wealthy sort who used his money to influence local politics and more). Hathorne Hill is in what is now called Danvers. But it was part of the parcel known as "Salem Village" back in the day. Hathorne ruled the  area and sent many a "witch" to the gallows. Tourists may think all the creepy stuff happened in what is now the city of Salem, but much of it happened in Danvers.
    Move ahead about 200 years and a mental hospital was built on the property - very Gothic and creepy (well, to us kids growing up). Besides the "experiments" that were so common back in the 1800's, the place was said to be haunted. Even the Hospital Director's family fled because they didn't want to stay there.
    Move ahead another 50 years or so (after the hospital's closing in mid 20th century). After the buildings fell into disrepair, they were partially torn down and renovated - a luxury apartment complex is there now (Avalon at Hathorne Hill).
    But it's still haunted! They had a fire when the complex was being built - a fire for which they could find NO reason. It was of "undetermined origin." Plus, I know a contractor who knew guys who worked at the site. Some of them worked only a few days before quitting. And a security guard was hired to be a night watchman for the basement (of the old existing main building) where all the tools, paints, etc. that were being used on site were kept. they had to hire someone because every time the workers got there the next day "someone" had been fooling with the stuff. they thought it was kids. Well, the guard lasted about all of one night at well.
    I'd love it if one of those paranormal groups would investigate it. but being corporately owned, that'll never happen.
    Anyway, thought you might be interested. As you always point out, history is not always what we learned in school.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. - John Kenneth Galbraith

    by MA Liberal on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:41:11 AM PST

    •  comments like this fuel this series! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MA Liberal

      I grew up in Newton, so this is all familiar (I've even been in Danvers more than once), and yes, Hawthorne because the memory of the Witch Trials was still fresh 125 years later in Salem and, by extension, in Boston.

      I've also taught at a college in the Cal State system that was built on the site of a famous mental hospital, and yes, some of the people who died there still haven't left.  I think state-owned works the way privately-owned does  for the paranormal groups.

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:47:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I figure Hathorne Hill has lots of ghosts (0+ / 0-)

        the land was originally stolen from the Indians, so there are a few that probably haunted the place from the start. Add to that the "witches" put to death by Judge Hathorne, plus some of the lost souls who were residents at the institution.
        I used to work for a marketing company whose biggest client is AvalonBay. I joked to my boss that AvalonBay started building they should get in there with some sage and try to get rid of the bad karma.
        Of course I really meant it. I often wonder if there are people living there who have experienced anything abnormal.
        It would be interesting to check into these things. But ghosts scare people. Not me. They're just souls trying to find their way.

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. - John Kenneth Galbraith

        by MA Liberal on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:49:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I grew up in site of that Hospital in Danvers (0+ / 0-)

          It is a beautiful site. On a clear day, you can see to Boston from the top.  I also have relatives, on my Mom's side, who were committed by their families to the place. A lot of those people committed the sin of growing old in families that could not take care of them in the Depression years in Ma.  (The Depression in MA went from around 1910 to the 1970's, btw.) Another of my Mom's people was committed and died there because of what sounds like OCD now. We live, thankfully, in better times.

          My Mom said that it was a local legend in Danvers that no one wanted to build around that area. So it was a farming community for a very long time, well, until a growth and building spurt after WWII.  The apple trees that still dot the area are a reminder of what happened to this "blood land" after the witchcraft delusion ended. No one wanted to build out there in "the sticks" so it became an orchard.

          My Mom is a crusty ole Yankee who leans heavily on the practical side. I took a drive with her once up to that site and told her that nothing on this earth could persuade me to live there.  She could not understand why I felt this way.  Well, it was possible sacred Indian land originally; it had been "blood land" in the witchcraft scare and then a mental hospital that became the inspiration for HP Lovecraft's Arkham Asylum. That constituted a "triple threat" of curses for me and there was no way I would ever live there.  She just shrugged her shoulders and said that all that might be true but it still had a hell of a view.  Maybe so.

  •  As a student of this history - great recap (3+ / 0-)

    Are we in Providence RI yet?  

    I sometimes feel that this country moved to Providence and we are being attacked by the Puritans over and over again. Damn how history repeats nauseum.

    Glad this was Rescued and Recommended...

    Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

    by SallyCat on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:43:52 AM PST

    •  Lola from the musical "Damn Yankees" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You know, "Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets."  The one Applegate uses to lure faithful men away from their wives.

      Lola was "...the ugliest woman in Providence, Rhode Island."

      Create. Build. Serve. Encourage. Teach.

      by algebrateacher on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 03:54:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Missed the musical, read lots about Anne (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Hutchinson. Started with family genealogy back to Mass Bay hooked on pre-revolution history, and the economics of revolution, not religion.

        Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

        by SallyCat on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:07:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The City on a Hill (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    Nice might want to add something about the City on a Hill concept and American utopianism, which I think are both intrinsically linked to the Massachusetts settlements and the American character. From Winthrop to Reagan, it's a beautiful idea with dreadful ramifications in practice.

    With respect to Religious Freedom/religious intolerance, there's a bit more nuance here to explore. Some of the Pilgrims in particular who had lived in Holland during their diaspora there had a broader vision of a concept of religious tolerance as a result, but the utopian exceptionalism of the community tended to drown them out. (Religious shunning has deep anthropological roots; politically, there is constant tension between group needs and individual expression, of course.) I can't say how deep-rooted it was, but America as a refuge was established in part by the multiplicity of reasons why people left to come here - religious, economic, social. Why my own Puritan ancestors came here, I know not, but I suspect it had more to do with escaping indenture than Gov. Winthrop's sermons.

    I think a better way of encapsulating the Mass bay experiments in the grand vision of American ideals -- and I'm thinking of a John Adams quotation about why he was a revolutionary, so his children could thrive in commerce and his grandchildren could explore the arts (versions of the American dream) -- is that they embodied the desire to be left alone to do your own thing, to try to build your own perfect society. The problem with the Puritans and Pilgrims was they ultimately failed in their own self-righteousness to extend that privilege to others - dissenters, Natives, et alia.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:53:32 AM PST

    •  Of course, but it's my diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheCrank, algebrateacher

      I was addressing a small point in it, like why don't we call the Pilgrims Puritans, because they are.  Very good comment, and you make some important points -- we really don't know enough about the years in Leyden.

      The trick isn't to work the New England experiment into a grand vision of American ideals, it's to incorporate the Chesapeake colonies into that vision. not quite as easy.

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:38:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Economic migrants... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Part of the restrictions of religious liberties in the old world was class- and privilege-based restrictions on the forms of commerce one could engage in if not part of the majority. I suspect economic opportunity is the common denominator (denomination? 8-) if you want to look deeper than religious freedom.

        Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

        by TheCrank on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:30:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not everyone was a Puritan (0+ / 0-)

          People were required to attend (and pay for) the local church but not everyone was a member.  They weren't members particularly because they weren't allowed to be!  To be a member of the early Puritan churches, one had to openly profess to the conversion experience.  If your story didn't add up, you weren't in.

          Lots and lots of early New Englanders were not Puritans.

          Create. Build. Serve. Encourage. Teach.

          by algebrateacher on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 03:51:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Digging up... (3+ / 0-)

    some of my family history, I see.  Mary Barrett Dyer was my 11th great grandmother.  After her initial reprieve she could have stayed in Rhode Island, but she wasn't satisfied with that and returned knowing she would be martyred.  I don't think that gene made it down to me...

    Also, I don't have conclusive proof, but it's likely that Captain John Mason was the brother of my 10th great grandfather, Hugh Mason.  Martyrs and murderers - isn't family wonderful?

    •  What fun! (0+ / 0-)

      I was just happy to find my immigrant grandparents (from the Pale of Settlement in eastern Europe) in the 1930 Census at over the weekend.  I love the juxtaposition here -- the Mason family was probably very happy to see Mary Dyer hanged!

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:56:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Isn't Unitarianism the best revenge on all this? (4+ / 0-)

    Theocracy is a non sustainable state of existence for a nation.  Inevitably, theocracy commands the loyalty of citizens unable to give it and either results in bloodbaths to purge the heretics or the implosion and  dissolution of the Theocracy itself.  It is a Utopian vision and can't be sustained.

    Puritanism was on it's way out in MA shortly after the witch trials in 1692. (That played a part in it's dissolution, btw.)

    John Adams became a Unitarian as did many of the Patriots who formented Revolution in the 18th century. Harvard College went non-Trinitarian in the early 1800's which sealed the deal on the Commonwealth bankrolling that institution and on a more religiously pluralistic society.  (Something that is a work in progress for the US now.)

      Recommended by:
      GrumpyOldGeek, algebrateacher

      I was planning a diary on the Second Great Awakening in mid-April based on two churches in Wayland, Massachusetts.  Now you have to show your erudition by posting a comment like this.

      Hmpf.  Of course, and I'm hoping no one will remember this by then.  You still left me the joy of explaining the relationship of Massachusetts to the new Unitarian churches.

      All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

      by Dave in Northridge on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:37:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  SORRY. Autodidact in shame here. (2+ / 0-)

        Maybe I can make it up some time.  (Ahm, I love your diaries.  Really I do..  Honest.)  I am learning stuff by the bucket or beanpot full.)

        Ahm, but you have so much more to relate.  Puritanism has so many daughter religions:  Mormonism, Christian Scientist,  Spirtualism, Transcendentalism.  My own 4 (g) grandfathers generation went Methodist.

        If it's any consolation, I was researching Methodism in Central MA in the early 1800's.  Some of these people genuinely wanted to guide America not to repeat the horrible deeds done to the natives in MA.  They failed. (The Methodists from Central MA are so interesting.  They did great things, they also messed up Hawaii. Even when they tried to reform utopia, they still screwed it up.)

        •  It's okay (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I did participate in an NEH seminar on Transcendentalism and social reform in Concord in Concord last summer, so I probably have a few things to relate about it that people don't know.  Excellent point about Hawai'i, though, and I think I can do something with it at some point.

          There's also America's first great industry where we became #1 in the world during the 19th century (speaking of Hawai'i!).  Another possibility for a diary.

          All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

          by Dave in Northridge on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 01:05:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  the first churches in Plymouth and Boston (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      birdboy2000, algebrateacher, LynChi

      are now Unitarian Universalist.

      Definitely a good revenge.

  •  I'm a descendent of both (3+ / 0-)

    Anne Hutchison and Mary Dyer. Dyer, who is called the Quaker Martyr, really was the instrument of of her own death. Her husband, who was not a Quaker, was prominent in Rhode Island and the Mass. authorities didn't want to execute Mary. They stayed it the first time but she was warned not to come back to Mass. She didn't die in vane, however, because reforms she fought for did occur after her execution.

    I'm also a descendent of John Tripp, an indentured servant who followed Roger Williams to Rhode Island and joined the Quaker movement sometime in the middle 1600's. The Tripps in my line remained Quakers for 200 years.

    Anne Hutchison was the daughter of a minister and I'm assuming fairly well educated. She started preaching at her home and I've always thought the fact that she was a woman in a patriarchy was the cause of her exile. After she arrived in Rhode Island, Aquidneck Island at the time, she and most of her family were killed by the Native Americans in that region. I'm descended from her daughter who wasn't with the rest of the family at the time of the masssacre.

    Dyer, whose family is unknown and subject to a great deal of speculation, was apparently well educated and had financial resources. I say this because she went back to England for three years to study with Charles Fox and then returned to her husband and the colonies to help bring the Quaker movement to the colonies. As far as my research can tell, none of her family joined her in the movement, but obviously she knew John Tripp because he joined the QUaker movement at that time.

    I only discovered any of this because of researching my geneology. I had no idea I was also a Mayflower descendent from two lines: William Brewster and John Turner. This is all on my mother's side. On my father's side, they were part of the English/Scottish immigration into Virginia and the Carolinas and then into Tennessee and Mississippi with the opening of the Cumberland Gap.

    I wish I had known some of this when I took American history in high school. I would have found it a lot more interesting.

    "The white race is the domineering race, which is why I'm voting for McClain." Anonymous voter on NPR

    by txdemfem on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:53:17 PM PST

  •  It's All Very Simple (2+ / 0-)

    The puritans were not pure, and they were chased out of Northern Europe in the early 1600's for being too uptight. Their insanity lives on in America today.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 01:12:00 PM PST

  •  Gen. Hooker was a direct descendent of (0+ / 0-)

    Rev. Thomas Hooker. The Rev. would be horrified at how his progeny acted.

  •  First national Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in 1789 by George Washington:

    It was enthusiastically embraced -- by America's small Jewish community. In fact the very first Thanksgiving Day Sermon ever published was by the leader of the New York Jewish community, Gershom Mendes Seixas:

    Remember that when people claim that Thanksgiving is a Christian holiday or that the United States is a Christian country.

    •  Proclaimed but complained (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge

      Generally, Days of Thanksgiving were established by each governor. The 1789 proclamation was carefully worded as a suggestion, not a national proclamation. The Articles of Confederation was still the law of the land in 1789, so states' rights was a touchy subject at that time.

      IIRC, the selected date was a Thursday sometime in between late October and early December. It wasn't unusual that 3 or 4 different Days of Thanksgiving were proclaimed. Governors were petty rivals and not thrilled about sharing power with a federal government. Not much has changed since then.

      "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 02:26:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not true. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Constitution's ratification took effect in 1788. George Washington was inaugurated on April 30, 1789, and issued the proclamation later that year.

        •  I keep forgetting I have a poor memory (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dave in Northridge

          I was thinking about the Bill of Rights and the significance of the 1st Amendment. So many things were happening during those times.

          The individual governors still proclaimed different dates for Thanksgiving before and after Washington's inauguration.

          About a year ago, I read through the entire diary of the Rev. Thomas Robbins who wrote an entry every day from 1796 to 1854.

          His diary is an historical treasure. Search for "Thanksgiving" to get an idea of how Thanksgiving fit into the daily life of a travelling minister.

          I was particulary drawn to his notes about the events and politics throughout the period. His concern about the inexperience and youth of the newly elected federal officials, including the president, is a surprise. He was concerned about electing an atheist president. He paid attention to the famous letters exchanged between Jefferson and the Baptist Society that contained the words about the "separation of church and state". Coincidentally, one of the authors of the letter sent to Jefferson was a Deacon Robbins, apparently not a relative of Thomas Robbins.

          I got sucked into his entries for 1816, the "Year Without Summer".

          In November, 1796, his entries indicate that Thanksgiving was celebrated on two different days. A footnote describes the custom:

          The old Thanksgivings in New England did not fall on fixed days as now but from October to January though usually November or December
          I was initially drawn to his diary while researching the first elephants that were imported into the Americas. He describes two encounters with the very first elephant to arrive in the US.

          My family history includes a tragic encounter with one of the first elephants in the US, Horatio the Elephant, the subject of my first Daily Kos diary. Subsequent research shows that Horatio was actually the fifth elephant in the US, not the third as I had speculated back in 2010.

          This will be expanded and will be the subject of a followup diary for the Genealogy and Family History Community group.

          "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

          by GrumpyOldGeek on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 12:23:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  And there was a Thanksgiving proclamation in 1619 (0+ / 0-)

    in Virginia:

    That is a year before the Mayflower landed.

  •  Can't wait to delve into this! Haven't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    read about the Puritans since college days a long long time ago.

    Great! Thanks!

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:12:59 PM PST

  •  This is what my mom always said--that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    the Puritans came to the Americas for their own religious freedom and to see to it that no one else could enjoy that priviledge.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:58:52 PM PST

  •  Good stuff Dave (0+ / 0-)

    sorry I missed this when it was first posted.

    My family arrived with Thomas White first showing up in the records of Weymouth, Ma in 1635. Clearly part of the Great Migration but unclear whether part of the Puritans or the others. Though he was immediately accepted as a free man and town elder. He appears to have arrived already married and with one son. The rest of his children were born in Weymouth. His wife's name is unknown though often rumored to be Ann Workman. I've never seen any shred of proof of that name.

    My paternal grandmothers family showed up in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam either the same year 1635 or perhaps as late as 1640 with Abraham Martensen Klock (later Clock) who appears to have worked up and down and on either side of the Hudson River before marrying Tryntje Alberts Pothoff of Ft. Orange (now Albany) about 1651.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 06:24:40 PM PST

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