Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Founding of Massachusetts Bay Colony

Massachusetts Bay Colony was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century, situated around the present-day cities of Salem and Boston. The colony was founded by the Massachsetss Bay Company, which included inestors in the failed Dorchester Company, which had established a short-lived colony on Cape Ann in 1624. However, the second attempt at colonization, which began in 1628, was very successful with over 10,000 people migrating to New England in the 1630s. The population was mostly Puritan and its government was run by leaders who were strongly influenced by Puritan beliefs. Before the arrival of the English, the area of Massachsetts Bay was the territory of several Algonquin-speaking tribes including the Massachusett, Nauset, and Wampanoag. The Pennacooks occupied the Merimack River valley to the north and the Nipmuc, Pocumtuc, and Mahican occupied the western lands of present-day Massachusetts; however, some of these tribes were under tribute to the Mohawk who were expanding aggressively from upstate New York. Early in the 17th century, famed European explorers Samuel de Champlain (known for the settlement of New France, which is present-day Quebec City in 1608 when he was only 21-years-old) and John Smith (a leader of the Virginia Colony based at Jamestown between September 1608 and August 1609) chartered the area. The first five ships to the Massachusetts Bay Colony sailed from England in 1629 and by 1642 more than 21,000 Puritans had emigrated to Massachusetts. This event, known as the Great Migration, established the basis for a stable and thriving society.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Founding of Plymouth Colony

In November 1620, the first Puritans to emigrate to America were a group of separatists known as the Pilgrims. They had already feld to the Netherlands in 1608, but they eventually came to believe that the Dutch were corrupt. A decade later, fearing that their children were being drawn into the culture, they decided to emigrate to the Virginia Colony (which is MUCH larger than the state we know today). The expedition was financed by a group of investors who hoped to establish a base for profitable trade. In September 1620, the Mayflower, carrying 150 settlers and crew, embarked on its journey to Virginia. However, the ship was blown off course and landed hundreds of miles north on Cape Cod. The 102 people who survived the journey established the colony of Plymouth. Before landing, the Pilgrim leaders drew up the Mayflower Compact--the first written frame of government in what is now the United States. William Bradford and Edward Winslow, two of the colony's leaders, published an account of their adventures aboard the ship and in the New World titled Mourt's Relation in 1622.

Hey y'all!

After a long hiatus due to school, I am glad to be back and have plenty of time to update this blog and help all of you learn more about American history and help you all continue to be able to make the connections you need to make between the past so you can know how we got to where we are now. This past semester at school has given me some amazing things which I hope will shine through my writing, especially in later posts when I discuss the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. I also had the pleasure of working with children in the local high school and helping them to understand that history is more than just facts, names, and dates. However, academics aside, this month has brought me some amazing opportunities. I won an essay contest held by Brad Meltzer, author and host of "Brad Meltzer's Decoded" on the History Channel, the write-up he did of my winning entry can be seen here: Also, I will be starting tutoring in social studies at my local branch of the public library, and I have an upcoming job interview with the New York Public Interest Research Group to help put an end to hydraulic fracturing (also known as hydrofracking) in the state of New York. Keep an eye out here for updates on all things American history. New blog posts will be up soon!

The Progressive Era's Reform Movements: A Summary

The Progressive Era was a period of widespread social activism and political reform in the U.S. from the 1890s to the 1920s. The main objec...