The New England colonies were a group of English colonies that were created in New England during the 17th century. They were one among North America’s first 13 colonies. The New England colonies were located on the northeast coast of North America. Each of the American colonies had a charter that authorized them to function in the New World.
The New England colonies had two basic government systems: Charter Government, Royal Government
The English monarchy controlled directly over royal colonies, and government officials were selected by the crown.
Charter colonies were largely self-governing, with colonists electing government leaders.
According to Alan Taylor’s book American Colonies: A History, the New England colonies were all initially charter colonies and were completely capable of self-government.
“The New England colonies were practically autonomous of imperial power due to their exceptionally liberal charters.” The New English built republican regimes in which the propertied men chose their governors and councils, as well as their assemblies, and where much decision-making was distributed to the various minor towns” Taylor (page 247)
When the crown started to strengthen its authority over the colonies because to its growing economic interest in colonial commerce, several of the New England colonies had their charters cancelled and became royal colonies.
According to Taylor, the monarchy initially converted several of its southern colonies before trying to convert the New England colonies:
“Throughout the seventeenth century, crown authorities progressively transformed a few private colonies into royal colonies.” The monarch, rather than a proprietor, appointed the governor and council, since the crown felt obligated to preserve the elected assemblies. The crown moved first to establish control over tobacco-rich Virginia and the sugar colonies of Barbados, the Leeward Islands, and Jamaica, where the income were highest. Because the New England colonies lacked a valuable staple important to royal income, the monarchy took its time reorganizing them. Furthermore, the many Puritan colonists vowed to make any imperial effort to force their adherence costly and impossible.” Taylor (page 247)
Following the conversion of the southern colonies, the English king founded the Dominion of New England in 1686, combining Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island into one big royal province. In 1688, New York and New Jersey were admitted to the Dominion.
The Dominion, however, was short-lived and ended when the Glorious Revolution of 1688 happened in England and colonists rose up and toppled the Dominion leaders.
Many of the New England colonies remained royal colonies after the dominion was toppled. In 1691, a new charter was obtained for Massachusetts Bay, converting it into a royal colony known as the Province of Massachusetts Bay and ordering the Plymouth colony to be merged into the province.
In 1691, a new charter was given for New Hampshire, converting it into a royal colony known as the Province of New Hampshire.
After the Glorious Revolution, only Connecticut and Rhode Island remained charter colonies.
The New England colonies’ governance was predominantly theocratic, meaning religiously oriented. Only males were allowed to serve in government, and they had to visit a local church to do so.
Governing of the New England Colonies: The New England colonies had two basic government systems: The Royal Government Government by charter.
Roger Williams (Rhode Island), Thomas Hooker (Connecticut), and John Winthrop were among the key leaders in the New England colonies (Massachusetts).
Because the soil in the New England colonies was too rocky for plantation cultivation, the colonies relied on fishing, logging, and subsistence farming. Farming and commerce ships were also common in the Middle colonies’ economy.
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