What Was the Purpose of the New England Confederation?

During the English Civil War, Puritans tried to separate from the Church of England while the church was distracted. They moved to the New World to pursue religious freedom and were trying to fully separate themselves. The Body of Liberties was issued in 1641, which stated that Massachusetts Bay was independent of England and was no longer bound by English Civil Law. It also stated that there could be no arbitrary governors appointed to dissolve a local legislature, but town meetings of qualified voters would be held instead. In 1643, a New England Confederation was formed, which consisted of Massachusetts Bay, New Plymouth, Connecticut River Valley, and New Haven. The goals of the confederation were to protect the colonists from the French in Canada and the Indians and to return runaway slaves.


The New England Confederation
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The New England Confederation


During the English Civil War, the Puritans tried to separate from the Church of England. While the English Civil War was going on, the English were going to be distracted and they wouldn’t be able to pay as much attention to what was going on over in America. The Puritans took this chance to try to assert their independence from the Church of England.


They wanted to be separate from the Church of England. They had originally left England, so that they could practice their religion freely without persecution. Now that England was preoccupied, they wanted to assert more separation from England and the Church of England.


They issued the Body of Liberties in 1641, which stated that Massachusetts Bay was independent of England and was, therefore, no longer bound by English civil law. They’re asserting their independence from England and their independence from the church. They wrote out the Body of Liberties, which was going to be their own sort of governmental charter.


It was saying that they were independent and they were no longer bound by English civil law, which meant that the rules that applied in England no longer applied to them, unless they were rules that were also in this Body of Liberties. They weren’t going to be taking orders from England anymore as they had been. They wanted to be independent.


The Body of Liberties also said that there could be no arbitrary governors appointed to dissolve local legislatures and that town meetings of qualified voters would be held to discuss local issues. The Puritans were saying no more governors could be appointed.


In the past, England has appointed a governor to the colony and that governor and be the representative from England who would pretty much have the final say on how things went. There may be some kind of council locally that some people could speak in and that would weigh in on decisions, but this governor appointed from England would have the final say.


They said that was no longer going to happen, and instead they were going to have town meetings of qualified voters to decide on local issues. They were going to meet with qualified individuals, vote, and use that method to determine how things were going to play out locally.


They would make their own decisions now instead of listening to England. Later, in 1643, a New England Confederation was formed. In 1641, Massachusetts Bay declared its independence from England and from the Church of England. Then, in 1643, the New England Confederation was formed.


This consisted of Massachusetts Bay, New Plymouth, Connecticut River Valley, and New Haven. These four colonies joined together to form a confederation. This confederation was going to be used to work together as a kind of co-operative government. They were going to work together apart from England.


The goals of this confederation were to protect the colonists from the French in Canada and the Indians; to safeguard their commercial interests from the Dutch in New Netherlands, which would later be known as New York; and to return runaway slaves. These colonists joined together primarily for protection.


They wanted to make sure that the colonists were all going to be protected from the French and from the Indians and that their commercial interests were going to be protected from the Dutch in New Netherlands, later called New York. They wanted to make sure that runaway slaves were going to be returned and not harbored.


No harboring of these fugitive runaway slaves would be allowed. The Confederation was going to work together to accomplish these goals. Now, in actuality, that wasn’t very successful. Everyone didn’t really do their part. They took care of their own colony, but didn’t really uphold the promises they made to the Confederation as a whole.


The New England Confederation was important because it showed that the colonists could separate from England. They were making that first step toward asserting their independence and saying they weren’t going to be ruled harshly by England. They were going to do their own thing.


First, the Puritans in Massachusetts Bay declared their independence and came up with the Body of Liberties. Then, they joined the New England Confederation, which was a group of colonies that were saying “We are going to be separate from England. We want to join together and form a new kind of government.”


Even though the New England Confederation wasn’t exactly successful and didn’t follow through on all of its goals, it was important steps toward the colonists asserting their independence from England.



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Last updated: 11/30/2018

 

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