Challenges the New England Colonies Faced by the End of the Seventeenth Century
What challenges faced the New England colonies by the end of the seventeenth century? How were these challenges specific to New England (and different than other British colonies in the Americas)? How did the colonists respond to these challenges?
Book： Roak, Johnson, et. al. The American Promise: A Concise History Vol 1 To 1877 6th edition
The New England colonies, like any other British colonies in North America, faced various challenges during and after their foundation. However, the challenges faced in New England during the 17th century were unique to other colonies across the region. This essay outlines these challenges and how specific they were to the New England colonies as well as how they were addressed by the colonists.
One of the unique challenges that faced the New England colonies was religious differences or disagreements. When the Puritan minister, Roger Williams, arrived in Massachusetts, John Winthrop’s Church appointed him as the minister, but he declined because he did not agree with the practices of the church which according to him were unjust and ungodly (Roark et al. 83) He was against the requirement that everyone attend church services. As a result, he denounced the church leadership and moved Rhodes Island with other dissenters. This challenge was specific to the region because all colonies in New England were founded on the search for religious freedom. Colonist addressed this challenge by banishing those that had different religious arguments from their territories to prevent influence on their followers.
Another challenge that the New England colonies faced was the influence of the Monarchical government of England. England monarchical influence disrupted the political and religious alignments in the colonies. For example, the direct governance approach adopted by the monarchy necessitated the revocation of the Massachusetts chatter which later saw disregard to land titles the incorporation of Massachusetts and other northern colonies into Dominion of New England (Roark et al. 108). This challenge was specific to New England because the King’s Agent found that New England colonies were deviating from England’s rules and laws. The colonialist addressed this challenge by expressing their displeasure with the blatant disregard to puritan traditions such as keeping the Sabbath by Edmund Andros. This dissatisfaction later enabled them to overthrow Andros’ reign.
In Summary, the British colonies in North America experienced numerous challenges, but the above-discussed problems were unique to New England colonies.
Roark, James L., Michael P. Johnson, Patricia Cline Cohen, Sarah Stage, and Susan M. Hartmann. The American Promise: A History of the United States, Volume 1, to 1877. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015.