Book Title
Give Me Liberty!: An American History 6th Edition

978-0393418248 Chapter 2

September 18, 2020
CHAPTER 2 Beginnings of English America, 1607
This chapter concentrates on the early history of the Chesapeake and New England colonies between 1607 and 1660.
The chapter begins by exploring the motives behind English colonization of the New World, then considers who was
emigrating to North America and for what reasons. Contact with the Indians and the subsequent transformation of
Indian life are examined. The settlement in the Chesapeake region, where tobacco emerged as the economic engine and
most early colonists cultivated that crop as indentured servants, is compared with the more family- and spiritually
oriented and more economically diverse New England settlements. There is irony in the story of New England’s
economic development: although Puritanism’s religion-based work ethic partially encouraged the region’s economic
growth, the wealth it created eventually weakened the power and influence of Puritan authority. Religion and freedom
are common themes in this chapter, relevant to the establishment of Maryland, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The
I. Introduction: Jamestown
II. England and the New World
A. Unifying the English Nation
1. England’s stability in the sixteenth century was undermined by religious conflicts.
B. England and Ireland
1. England’s methods to subdue Ireland in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries established
patterns that would be repeated in America.
C. England and North America
1. The English crown issued charters for individuals such as Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh
to colonize America at their own expense, but both failed.
D. Spreading Protestantism
1. Anti-Catholicism had become deeply ingrained in English popular culture.
2. A Discourse concerning Western Planting argued that settlement would strike a blow at England’s most
E. The Social Crisis
1. A worsening economy and the enclosure movement led to an increase in the number of poor and to a
social crisis.
2. Unruly poor were encouraged to leave England for the New World.
F. Masterless Men
1. Thomas Moore’s Utopia (1516) describes a place where settlers could go to escape the economic
inequalities of Europea place such as many could imagine America to be.
2. The English increasingly viewed America as a land where a man could control his own labor and thus
gain independence, particularly through the ownership of land.
III. The Coming of the English
A. English Emigrants
1. Sustained immigration was vital for the settlement’s survival.
2. Between 1607 and 1700, a little over half a million people left England.
a. They settled in Ireland, the West Indies, and North America.
b. Most settlers in North America were young, single men from the bottom rungs of English society.
B. Indentured Servants
1. Two-thirds of English settlers came to North America as indentured servants.
2. Indentured servants did not enjoy any liberties while under contract.
C. Land and Liberty
1. Land was the basis of liberty, including voting rights in most colonies.
D. Englishmen and Indians
1. As many more settlers went to the Chesapeake and New England than New Mexico, Florida, and New
France combined, the English were chiefly interested in displacing the Indians and settling on their land.
2. The English did emphasize converting Indians like the Spanish and French did.
3. Most colonial authorities in practice recognized the Indians’ title to land based on occupancy.
4. The seventeenth century was marked by recurrent warfare between colonists and Indians.
a. Wars gave the English a heightened sense of superiority.
E. Transformation of Indian Life
1. English goods were eagerly integrated into Indian life.
2. Over time, those European goods changed Indian farming, hunting, and cooking practices.
a. Exchanges with Europeans stimulated warfare between Indian tribes.
F. Changes in the Land
IV. Settling the Chesapeake
A. The Jamestown Colony
1. Settlement and survival were questionable in the colony’s early history because of high death rates,
frequent changes in leadership, inadequate supplies from England, and placing gold before farming.
2. By 1616, about 80 percent of the immigrants who had arrived in the first decade were dead.
3. John Smith’s tough leadership held the early colony together.
B. From Company to Society
1. New policies were adopted in 1618 so that the colony could survive.
a. Headright system
b. A charter of grants and liberties provided an elected assembly (House of Burgesses), which first met
in 1619.
2. The first blacks arrived in 1619, the first hint of slavery in the colony.
b. After Pocahontas was captured by the English, she married John Rolfe in 1614, symbolizing Anglo-
Indian harmony.
D. The Uprising of 1622
1. Once the English decided on a permanent colony instead of merely a trading post, conflict was
a. Opechancanough, brother of Powhatan, led an attack on Virginia’s settlers in 1622.
2. The English forced the Indians to recognize their subordination to the government at Jamestown and
moved them onto reservations.
3. The Virginia Company surrendered its charter to the crown in 1624.
E. A Tobacco Colony
1. Tobacco was Virginia’s “gold,” and its production reached 30 million pounds by the 1680s.
2. The expansion of tobacco production led to an increased demand for field labor.
F. Women and the Family
1. Virginia society lacked a stable family life.
2. Social conditions opened the door to roles women rarely assumed in England.
G. The Maryland Experiment
H. Religion in Maryland
1. Calvert envisioned Maryland as a refuge for persecuted Catholics.
2. Most appointed officials were initially Catholic, but Protestants always outnumbered Catholics in the
3. Although it had a high death rate, Maryland offered servants greater opportunity for land ownership
than Virginia.
V. The New England Way
A. The Rise of Puritanism
1. Puritanism emerged from the Protestant Reformation in England.
a. Puritans believed that the Church of England retained too many elements of Catholicism.
2. Puritans considered religious belief a complex and demanding matter, urging believers to seek the
truth by reading the Bible and listening to sermons.
B. Moral Liberty
1. Many Puritans immigrated to the New World in hopes of establishing a Bible Commonwealth that
would eventually influence England.
2. They came to America in search of liberty and the right to worship and govern themselves.
3. Puritans were governed by a “moral liberty,” “a liberty to that only which is good,” which was
compatible with severe restraints on speech, religion, and personal behavior.
C. The Pilgrims at Plymouth
1. Pilgrims sailed in 1620 to Cape Cod aboard the Mayflower.
a. Before going ashore, the adult men signed the Mayflower Compact, the first written frame of
government in what is now the United States.
2. Squanto provided much valuable help to the Pilgrims, and the first Thanksgiving in America was
celebrated in 1621.
D. The Great Migration
1. The Massachusetts Bay Company was chartered in 1629 by London merchants wanting to further the
Puritan cause and to turn a profit from trade with the Indians.
2. New England settlement was very different from settlement in the Chesapeake colonies.
E. The Puritan Family
1. Puritans reproduced the family structure of England with men as the head of the household.
2. Women were allowed full church membership and divorce was legal, but a woman was expected to
obey her husband fully.
3. Puritans believed that a woman achieved genuine freedom by fulfilling her prescribed social role and
embracing subjection to her husband’s authority.
4. New England had a higher birth rate than the Chesapeake region, so much time was spent bearing and
rearing children.
F. Government and Society in Massachusetts
1. Massachusetts was organized into self-governing towns.
a. Each town had a Congregational Church and a school.
b. To train an educated ministry, Harvard College was established in 1636.
2. The freemen of Massachusetts elected their governor.
3. Church government was decentralized.
a. Full church membership was required to vote in colony-wide elections.
b. Church and colonial government were intricately linked.
G. Church and State in Puritan Massachusetts
1. Puritans defined liberties by social rank, producing a rigid hierarchal society justified by God’s will.
2. The Body of Liberties affirmed the rights of free speech and assembly and equal protection for all.
3. Although ministers were forbidden to hold office in Massachusetts, church and state were closely
4. Puritans, like other faiths, believed that religious uniformity was essential to social order.
VI. New Englanders Divided
A. Roger Williams
1. A young minister, Williams preached that any citizen ought to be free to practice whatever form of
religion he chose.
2. Williams believed that it was essential to separate church and state.
B. Rhode Island and Connecticut
1. Banished from Massachusetts in 1636, Williams established Rhode Island.
2. Rhode Island was a beacon of religious freedom and democratic government.
3. Other spin-offs from Massachusetts included New Haven and Hartford, which joined to become the
colony of Connecticut in 1662.
C. The Trial of Anne Hutchinson
1. Hutchinson was a well-educated, articulate woman who charged that nearly all the ministers in
Massachusetts were guilty of faulty preaching.
2. Puritans in Massachusetts found the idea of religious pluralism troubling, and Hutchinson was placed on
trial in 1637 for sedition.
3. As seen with Williams and Hutchinson, Puritan New England was a place of religious intolerance.
4. Voices of Freedom (Primary Source document feature)
a. “The Trial of Anne Hutchinson” (1637)
b. Gov. John Winthrop and other members of the court question Anne Hutchinson during her trial.
D. Puritans and Indians
1. Colonial leaders had differing opinions about the English right to claim Indian land.
2. To New England’s leaders, the Indians represented both savagery and temptation.
a. The Connecticut General Court set a penalty for anyone who chose to live with the Indians.
b. The Puritans made no real attempt to convert the Indians in the first two decades.
E. The Pequot War
1. As the white population grew, conflict with the Indians became unavoidable, and the turning point
came when a fur trader was killed by Pequots.
F. The New England Economy
1. Most migrants were textile craftsmen and farmers.
2. Fishing and timber were exported, but the economy centered on family farms.
G. The Merchant Elite
1. Per capita wealth was more equally distributed in New England than in the Chesapeake.
2. A powerful merchant class rose up, assuming a growing role based on trade within the British empire.
3. Some clashed with the church and left to establish a new town, Portsmouth, in New Hampshire.
H. The Half-Way Covenant
1. By 1650, many Massachusetts residents, children of the Great Migration generation, had been baptized
as infants but could not prove they had undergone the conversion experience necessary for full church
4. As church membership stagnated, ministers castigated the people for various sins.
VII. Religion, Politics, and Freedom
A. The Rights of Englishmen
1. By 1600, the idea that certain rights of Englishmen applied to all within the kingdom had developed
alongside the traditional definition of liberties.
2. This tradition rested on the Magna Carta, which was signed by King John in 1215.
a. It identified a series of liberties that barons found to be the most beneficial.
3. The Magna Carta over time came to embody the idea of English freedom.
4. The belief in freedom as the common heritage of all Englishmen and the conception of the British empire
as the world’s guardian of liberty helped to legitimize English colonization.
5. Who Is an American? (primary source document feature)
a. Henry Care, English Liberties, Or, The Free-Born Subject’s Inheritance (1680)
b. This selection from Care’s book connects American colonial identity with English notions of liberty.
B. The English Civil War
3. The English Civil War of the 1640s illuminated debates about liberty and what it meant to be a freeborn
C. England’s Debate over Freedom
1. John Milton called for freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the 1640s.
2. The Levellers called for an even greater expansion of liberty, moving away from a definition based on
social class.
3. The Diggers were another political group attempting to give freedom an economic underpinning through
the common ownership of land.
D. The Civil War and English America
E. The Crisis in Maryland
1. Virginia sided with Charles I, but in Maryland, crisis erupted into civil war.
2. In 1649, Maryland adopted an Act concerning Religion, which institutionalized the principles of
toleration that had prevailed from the colony’s beginning.
F. Cromwell and the Empire
1. Oliver Cromwell, who ruled England from 1649 until his death in 1658, pursued an aggressive policy of
colonial expansion, promotion of Protestantism, and commercial empowerment in the British Isles and
the Western Hemisphere.
2. The next century was a time of crisis and consolidation.
What motivated England to colonize the New World? How similar to or different from Spain’s motives,
discussed in Chapter 1, were England’s?
Why was the Jamestown Colony unstable and its survival questionable? Who settled there? What were their
goals? How did they interact with the Indians?
What were the differences between the Pilgrims and the Puritans? Were they the same? Compare the Plymouth
Colony with the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
How were Puritan women expected to achieve genuine freedom?
Explain how Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson showed how the Puritan belief in each individual’s ability
to interpret the Bible could easily lead to criticism of the religious establishment.
In what ways does Gov. John Winthrop criticize Anne Hutchinson as a woman during her trial? (see Voices of
Discuss the idea of the rights of Englishmen and what that meant to the settlers in the New World. How did the
English Civil War affect the colonists’ understanding of their rights?
This link takes you to American Beginnings: The European Presence in North America, 14921690.
Chesapeake Colonies
The Mariners’ Museum’s website details the history of the various colonies in the Chesapeake Bay area.
This site is perfect for classroom use. It offers 3-D re-creations of the village, documents, interviews, maps, labor contracts,
and court records and other public records.
The site has the latest information on archaeological digs and the recent scientific proof (“Jane’s Story”) of cannibalism.
Mayflower History
Home page for a site that provides historical facts about the Mayflower and full-text primary sources of books and letters
written by passengers of the Mayflower.
Plymouth Colony
Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts offers living history, online activities, and useful tours. This is a Smithsonian Institution
Affiliations program.
1629 Charter of Massachusetts Bay
The Yale School of Law Avalon Project has many historic legal documents, including the charter of Massachusetts Bay.
Bragdon, Kathleen J. The Columbia Guide to the American Indians of the Northeast. Columbia Guides to American Indian
History and Culture Series. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.
Gaskill, Malcolm. Between Two Worlds: How the English Became Americans. New York: Basic Books, 2014.
Horn, James. A Kingdom Strange: The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. New York: Basic Books, 2010.
Irwin, Raymond. “Cast Out from the ‘City upon a Hill’: Antinomianism Exiles in Rhode Island, 16381650. Rhode Island
Russell, Conrad. The Causes of the English Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Saxton, Martha. “Bearing the Burden? Puritan Wives.” History Today (1994): 2833.
Smith, Captain John, and Horn, James. Captain John Smith: Writings with Other Narratives of Roanoke, Jamestown, and the First
English Settlement of America. New York: Library of America, 2007.
Townsend, Camilla. Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma. New York: Hill & Wang, 2004.
1. Popular Culture and Jamestown
Have students read the Jamestown section of Chapter 2. Present lecture material on the founding of Jamestown and the ensuing
struggle of the colony. Then have students watch several scenes involving Pocahontas and John Smith from two recent Hollywood
films: Disney’s Pocahontas (1995) and Terrence Malicks The New World (2005).
Discussion Activities:
1. How do Smith and Pocahontas meet and interact in each film? Discuss their relationship.
2. Compare each film’s interpretation of how Pocahontas “saves” John Smith.
Virtual Jamestown
2. The Trial of Anne Hutchinson
Have students conduct a mock trial of Anne Hutchinson. Ask them to prepare questions for Hutchinson ahead of time from the