Massachusetts: A New Royal Colony
A New Royal Colony
In 1691 a new charter united Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Maine into the single royal colony of Massachusetts. This charter abolished church membership as a test for voting, although Congregationalism remained the established religion. Widespread anxiety over loss of the original charter contributed to the witchcraft panic that reached its climax in Salem in the summer of 1692. Nineteen persons were hanged and one crushed to death for refusing to confess to the practice of witchcraft. The Salem trials ended abruptly when colonial authorities, led by Cotton Mather, became alarmed at their excesses.
By the mid-18th cent. the Massachusetts colony had come a long way from its humble agricultural beginnings. Fish, lumber, and farm products were exported in a lively trade carried by ships built in Massachusetts and manned by local seamen. That the menace of French Canada was removed by 1763 was due in no small measure to the unstinting efforts of England, but the increasing British tendency to regulate colonial affairs, especially trade (see Navigation Acts), without colonial advice, was most unwelcome. Because of the colony's extensive shipping interests, e.g., the traffic in molasses, rum, and slaves (the “triangular trade”), it sorely felt these restrictions.
Sections in this article:
- World War II to the Present
- The Growth of the Cities and the Labor Movement
- Industrialization and Immigration
- Reform Movements and Civil War
- The New Nation
- Discontent and Revolution
- A New Royal Colony
- The Puritan Colonies
- Early European Exploration and Colonization
- Government, Politics, and Higher Education
- Facts and Figures
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