Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A City Upon the Ground

In this lesson the goal was to try and fully understand the Puritans that settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. We did this by trying to answer the essential question helping us focus on the main idea of what we were learning. The essential question we were answering for this lesson was; Were the Puritans and Massachusetts Bay Colony a "Model of Christian Charity" as John Winthrop claimed they would be? It is important to answer this question while we study because this is what most of the Puritans and citizens of England were debating themselves. The Puritans didn't know if they had fulfilled their duties of being a representation of the perfect settlement and the citizens of England didn't know if it was worth it to leave and go to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. We also need to realize that this is the most important topic and the goal of what we should be learning. We were able to find the answer to this question in class by doing multiple activities. We analyzed three sources one by John Winthrop, one by Reverend John Cotton, and one by Anne Hutchinson. We also watched a video while taking down the key points and we read a couple of articles about the Salem witch trials from different people's points of views. These all lead us to the idea that John Winthrop was wrong about the Puritan colony and they were not a "Model of Christian Charity." 
The Puritans came to the New World in search of a place they could practice their religion openly because they were not excepted by King Charles in England. When they got to the New World they planed on being a model for the rest of the settlements that would take place in the New World. The Puritans goal was to try and make the church pure. In 1625, King Charles becomes king and he hated Puritans just as much as his father did. So, the puritans wanted to leave England to get away from King Charles and practice their religion. John Endicott started this by getting permission from Plymouth colony to settle 60 puritans in Salem. Then King Charles agreed to let the Puritans set up a charter to settle in New England while in England he tried to push the citizens to worship in the Anglican Church . This upset a lot of people and they left to go to New England along with the Puritans. Since so many people were leaving England King Charles decided that he would cancel the charter. However, the people decide to fight rather then give it up and King Charles at the time was having problems in England so he kept the charter as it was. John Winthrop, a founder in the Massachusetts Bay Colony wanted to make the colony one to be looked after, so he told the people that "We must treat other settlers as our brothers. We must enjoy each other. We must make others' problems our own. We must rejoice together, mourn together, work and suffer together, always remembering that we are one." John Winthrop was saying that in order for their colony to succeed they all had to be selfless. He wanted everybody to look out for one another and work as one team. For John Winthrop's idea of having the settlement be a representation for others everybody needed to act a certain way there were no rules that could be broken. This wasn't very realistic though because even the most selfless person by human nature will make mistakes and focus on themselves.
When the Puritans arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony they thought that God had made the land just for them, so people that where there before them like the Pequot Indians were not welcomed and were attacked by the Puritans on their own land. In John Cotton's speech he stated that "God either lets man discover a country themselves or, upon hearing the land had been discovered by others, God sends them to it." The Puritans thought that they owned the land in Massachusetts and it was all for them because they thought God had put it there for them. The Puritans thought that God had set up the perfect spot for their settlement when they got there because there were already cleared fields from the colony of Indians that had died from disease. They also believed that if God made this land there then they were the only ones who were supposed to occupy it. "God makes room for a people to live there when he drives those who live there away with a just war." (John Cotton) The Puritans though that they were allowed to take the land away from  the Indians. They saw the dying of the Pequot's from diseases as a sign that they were being taken away from the land so that the Puritans could have it by God. So they thought that the only way to rightfully own all their land was to kill off the rest of the Pequot with a war. The Puritans then decided to plan a surprise attack on the Pequot village. However, when they were planning it out it turned a massacre not a war. The Puritans had planed the attack out thoroughly. When they got to the Pequot village they attacked everybody even women and children. They soon realized that hand to hand combat was not going to work so they decided to start burning down everything. There is nothing about this massacre that was justified on the Puritans part. They did believe God had given them the land and that they could have a just war to move them from the land but this was not a just war. In order for this to have been justified the Pequot people would have had to know about the fight and they wouldn't have women and children there; only men. If the Puritans truly believe that they were doing this because of God they wouldn't have planned out the attack as much as they did because they would have thought that God would help them win it. Even in the colony you can see that they are not "a city upon a hill." The people in Massachusetts Bay Colony were not at all excepting of Anne Hutchinson or anybody like her. The women in the colony were not treated fairly and Anne Hutchinson is a great example of this. She was a very religious women and had thirteen kids these qualities of her appealed to the colony's ways. However, she tried to interpret the Bible for herself and she held public meeting criticizing for the local ministers. Although this was not excepted at the time Anne Hutchinson was not treated fairly at the trials. All the facts that she stated at her religious trial were accurate and people were offended at the thought of her being right so they banished her. This is not fair because they should not have looked at her differently then they would have a man. Another example is Mary Dyer, a follower of Anne Hutchinson was hanged for supposedly being rebellious while all she did was just speak her mind. Then there were the Salem Witch trial which were truly unfair and unjustified. For example Sarah Good a lady who was hanged for supposedly practicing witch craft. When she went to trial the only evidence that the judge had was the accounts of three little girls. This is not fair at all because they were just children and all they had for evidence was the girls acting out which any child does at their age. During the Salem Witch Trials the people were just to afraid to let ladies that went to court go free with their life. They were willing to except one small piece of evidence as if it were enough to imprison and hang them. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was more of a representation of the cruelest colony then the kindest colony. 
I believe that John Winthrop was inaccurate when he claimed the Massachusetts Bay Colony was a "Model of Christian Charity." The Massachusetts Bay Colony was an example of prejudices and unjustified behavior. If they really wanted to be a model of the ideal Christian they wouldn't have planed a massacre and killed all the Pequot. They would have left it up to God and had a small just war if they even had one. Also they wouldn't have punished people for wanting to understand the Bible they would have respected them and treated them as if they were one with the rest of the citizen. Then they wouldn't have hanged people just for the reason of them being different and on accusations instead of real evidence because God would have taken that person away himself. The Puritans did not understand what it truly was like to be a follower of God because they betrayed Him in their actions. They were not a colony that others looked up to or should have looked up to. 

Pequot Video - (Part 1)  (Part 2)
Notes from Pequot Video - 
Lesson Notes (Including the documents) - 
Salem Witch Trials -

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