History of The New England Colonies
Unlike the founders of Jamestown, whose sole goal was economic prosperity, the founders of the New England colonies had a separate, more important mission: spiritual and religious freedom. Fed up with the ceremonial Church of England, Pilgrims and Puritans sought to recreate society in the manner they believed God truly intended it to be designed and to worship God in a genuine way.
The Church of England had become tyrannical and persecuting by the early 1600s. The Pilgrims, called the “Separatists” in England because of their desire to separate from the Anglican Church, were persecuted by agents of the throne. The Puritans, so named for their desire to purify the Church of England, experienced the same degree of harassment. By the second and third decades of the 1600s, each group decided that England was no place to put their controversial beliefs into practice.
Where else but in the New World could such a golden opportunity be found? The land was untainted. Children could be raised without the corruption of old English religious ideas. The chance to create a perfect society was there for the taking. The powers in England saw America a means to get rid of troublemakers. Everything was falling into place.
By 1620, the seeds for a new society, quite different from the one already established at Jamestown, were planted deeply within the souls of a few brave pioneers. Their quest would form the basis of New England society.
John Winthrop was a spiritual and political leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was elected governor of the colony in 1629.