Aveda Institute Des Moines History Voices of Freedom Questions


Use the textbook Voices of Freedom and answer one of the questions at the end of ONE of the following documents:
New York Workingmen Demand a Voice in the Revolutionary Struggle (1770)
Association of the New York Sons of Liberty (1773)
Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)
Jefferson’s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779)

The Right of “Free Suffrage” (1776)

Noah Webster on Equality (1787)


Petition of Slaves to the Massachusetts Legislature (1777)

Benjamin Rush, Thoughts Upon Female Education (1787)
Students whose papers answer the question and incorporate information from Give Me Liberty! will experience the most success.
Remember to copy the question you will be answering and also MLA format.
I need you to select Jefferson’s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779) because it is the simplest of all.
24 hours ago
have a look at it then tell me how long you will need to complete it, It is also a 300 word assignment like the rest.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1L67ghTQmZfnFNS8oacgtnUbb0WEjZnqe/view GIVE ME LIBERTY

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1. Preface
2. 1: A New World
1. 1. Adam Smith, The Results of Colonization (1776)
2. 2. Giovanni da Verrazano, Encountering Native Americans (1524)
3. 3. Bartolomé de las Casas on Spanish Treatment of the Indians, from History of the
Indies (1528)
4. 4. The Pueblo Revolt (1680)
5. 5. Father Jean de Bré beuf on the Customs and Beliefs of the Hurons (1635)
6. 6. Jewish Petition to the Dutch West India Company (1655)
3. 2: Beginnings of English America, 1607–1660
1. 7. Exchange between John Smith and Powhatan (1608)
2. 8. Sending Women to Virginia (1622)
3. 9. Henry Care, English Liberties (1680)
4. 10. John Winthrop, Speech to the Massachusetts General Court (1645)
5. 11. The Trial of Anne Hutchinson (1637)
6. 12. Roger Williams, Letter to the Town of Providence (1655)
7. 13. The Levellers, The Agreement of the People Presented to the Council of the Army
4. 3: Creating Anglo-America, 1660–1750
1. 14. William Penn, Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges and Liberties (1701)
2. 15. Nathaniel Bacon on Bacon’s Rebellion (1676)
3. 16. Letter by an Immigrant to Pennsylvania (1769)
4. 17. An Act Concerning Negroes and Other Slaves (1664)
5. 18. Benjamin Franklin, “Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind” (1751)
6. 19. Complaint of an Indentured Servant (1756)
7. 20. Women in the Household Economy (1709)
5. 4: Slavery, Freedom, and the Struggle for Empire, to 1763
1. 21. An Act for the Encouragement of the Importation of White Servants (1698)
2. 22. Olaudah Equiano on Slavery (1789)
3. 23. Advertisements for Runaway Slaves and Servants (1738)
4. 24. The Independent Reflector on Limited Monarchy and Liberty (1752)
5. 25. The Trial of John Peter Zenger (1735)
6. 26. The Great Awakening Comes to Connecticut (1740)
7. 27. Pontiac, Two Speeches (1762 and 1763)
6. 5: The American Revolution, 1763–1783
1. 28. Virginia Resolutions on the Stamp Act (1765)
2. 29. New York Workingmen Demand a Voice in the Revolutionary Struggle (1770)
3. 30. Association of the New York Sons of Liberty (1773)
4. 31. Farmington, Connecticut, Resolutions on the Intolerable Acts (1774)
5. 32. Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)
6. 33. Samuel Seabury’s Argument against Independence (1775)
7. 6: The Revolution Within
1. 34. Abigail and John Adams on Women and the American Revolution (1776)
2. 35. Jefferson’s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779)
3. 36. John Adams on the American Revolution (1818)
4. 37. Noah Webster on Equality (1787)
5. 38. Liberating Indentured Servants (1784)
6. 39. Letter of Phillis Wheatley (1774)
7. 40. Benjamin Rush, Thoughts upon Female Education (1787)
7: Founding a Nation, 1783–1791
1. 41. Petition of Inhabitants West of the Ohio River (1785)
2. 42. David Ramsey, American Innovations in Government (1789)
3. 43. J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, “What, Then, Is the American?” (1782)
4. 44. James Winthrop, The Anti-Federalist Argument (1787)
5. 45. Thomas Jefferson on Race and Slavery (1781)
8: Securing the Republic, 1791–1815
1. 46. Benjamin F. Bache, A Defense of the French Revolution (1792–1793)
2. 47. Address of the Democratic-Republican Society of Pennsylvania (1794)
3. 48. Judith Sargent Murray, “On the Equality of the Sexes” (1790)
4. 49. Protest against the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798)
5. 50. George Tucker on Gabriel’s Rebellion (1801)
6. 51. Tecumseh, Speech to the Osage (1810)
7. 52. Felix Grundy, Battle Cry of the War Hawks (1811)
8. 53. Mercy Otis Warren on Religion and Virtue (1805)
9: The Market Revolution, 1800–1840
1. 54. Sarah Bagley, Freedom and Necessity at Lowell (1845)
2. 55. Joseph Smith, The Wentworth Letter (1842)
3. 56. Margaret McCarthy to Her Family in Ireland (1850)
4. 57. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar” (1837)
5. 58. Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)
6. 59. Charles G. Finney, “Sinners Bound to Change Their Own Hearts” (1836)
10: Democracy in America, 1815–1840
1. 60. The Monroe Doctrine (1823)
2. 61. John Quincy Adams on the Role of the National Government (1825)
3. 62. Andrew Jackson, Veto of the Bank Bill (1832)
4. 63. Virginia Petition for the Right to Vote (1829)
5. 64. Appeal of the Cherokee Nation (1830)
6. 65. Appeal of Forty Thousand Citizens (1838)
11: The Peculiar Institution
1. 66. Frederick Douglass on the Desire for Freedom (1845)
2. 67. The Proslavery Argument (1854)
3. 68. William Sewall, The Results of British Emancipation (1860)
4. 69. Rules of Highland Plantation (1838)
5. 70. Slavery and the Bible (1850)
6. 71. Letter by a Fugitive Slave (1840)
7. 72. Solomon Northup, The New Orleans Slave Market (1853)
12: An Age of Reform, 1820–1840
1. 73. Robert Owen, “The First Discourse on a New System of Society” (1825)
2. 74. Philip Schaff on Freedom as Self-Restraint (1855)
3. 75. David Walker’s Appeal (1829)
4. 76. Frederick Douglass on the Fourth of July (1852)
5. 77. Catharine Beecher on the “Duty of American Females” (1837)
6. 78. Angelina Grimké on Women’s Rights (1837)
7. 79. Protest Statement of Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell (1855)
13: A House Divided, 1840–1861
1. 80. John L. O’Sullivan, Manifest Destiny (1845)
2. 81. A Protest against Anti-Chinese Prejudice (1852)
3. 82. Resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act (1850)
4. 83. American Party Platform (1856)
5. 84. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, The Dred Scott Decision (1857)
6. 85. Texas Declaration of Independence (1836)
7. 86. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1858)
8. 87. South Carolina Ordinance of Secession (1860)
15. 14: A New Birth of Freedom: The Civil War, 1861–1865
1. 88. Alexander H. Stephens, The Cornerstone of the Confederacy (1861)
2. 89. Marcus M. Spiegel, Letter of a Civil War Soldier (1864)
3. 90. Samuel S. Cox Condemns Emancipation (1862)
4. 91. A Defense of the Confederacy (1861)
5. 92. Frederick Douglass on Black Soldiers (1863)
6. 93. Letter by the Mother of a Black Soldier (1863)
7. 94. Abraham Lincoln, Address at Sanitary Fair, Baltimore (1864)
8. 95. Mary Livermore on Women and the War (1883)
16. 15: “What Is Freedom?”: Reconstruction, 1865–1877
1. 96. Petition of Black Residents of Nashville (1865)
2. 97. Petition of Committee on Behalf of the Freedmen to Andrew Johnson (1865)
3. 98. The Mississippi Black Code (1865)
4. 99. A Sharecropping Contract (1866)
5. 100. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Home Life” (ca. 1875)
6. 101. Frederick Douglass, “The Composite Nation” (1869)
7. 102. Robert B. Elliott on Civil Rights (1874)
Voices of Freedom is a documentary history of American freedom from the earliest days of European
exploration and settlement of the Western Hemisphere to the present. I have prepared it as a
companion volume to Give Me Liberty!, my survey textbook of the history of the United States
centered on the theme of freedom. This sixth edition of Voices of Freedom is organized in chapters
that correspond to those in the sixth edition of the textbook. But it can also stand independently as a
documentary introduction to the history of American freedom. The two volumes include more than
twenty documents not available in the fifth edition.
No idea is more fundamental to Americans’ sense of themselves as individuals and as a nation than
freedom, or liberty, with which it is almost always used interchangeably. The Declaration of
Independence lists liberty among mankind’s inalienable rights; the Constitution announces as its
purpose to secure liberty’s blessings. “Every man in the street, white, black, red or yellow,” wrote the
educator and statesman Ralph Bunche in 1940, “knows that this is ‘the land of the free’ . . . ‘the
cradle of liberty.’ ”
The very universality of the idea of freedom, however, can be misleading. Freedom is not a fixed,
timeless category with a single unchanging definition. Rather, the history of the United States is, in
part, a story of debates, disagreements, and struggles over freedom. Crises like the American
Revolution, the Civil War, and the Cold War have permanently transformed the idea of freedom. So
too have demands by various groups of Americans for greater freedom as they understood it.
In choosing the documents for Voices of Freedom, I have attempted to convey the multifaceted
history of this compelling and contested idea. The documents reflect how Americans at different
points in our history have defined freedom as an overarching idea, or have understood some of its
many dimensions, including political, religious, economic, and personal freedom. For each chapter, I
have tried to select documents that highlight the specific discussions of freedom that occurred during
that time period, and some of the divergent interpretations of freedom at each point in our history. I
hope that students will gain an appreciation of how the idea of freedom has expanded over time, and
how it has been extended into more and more areas of Americans’ lives. But at the same time, the
documents suggest how freedom for some Americans has, at various times in our history, rested on
lack of freedom—for example, slavery, indentured servitude, the subordinate position of women—
for others.
The documents that follow reflect the kinds of historical developments that have shaped and
reshaped the idea of freedom, including war, economic change, territorial expansion, social protest
movements, and international involvement. The selections try to convey a sense of the rich cast of
characters who have contributed to the history of American freedom. They include presidential
proclamations and letters by runaway slaves, famous court cases and obscure manifestos, ideas
dominant in a particular era and those of radicals and dissenters. They range from advertisements in
colonial newspapers seeking the return of runaway indentured servants and slaves to debates in the
early twentieth century over the definition of economic freedom, the controversy over the proposed
Equal Rights Amendment for women, and recent Supreme Court decisions dealing with the right of
gay Americans to marry one another.
I have been particularly attentive to how battles at the boundaries of freedom—the efforts of racial
minorities, women, and others to secure greater freedom—have deepened and transformed the
concept and extended it into new realms. In addition, in this sixth edition I have included a number
of new documents that illustrate how the very definition of American identity—answers to the
question “Who is an American?”—have affected the evolution of the idea of freedom. These include
Benjamin Franklin’s argument in 1751 for restricting immigration to English men and women; J.
Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur’s observations at the time of the War of Independence on the
emergence of the American, a “new man,” from the diverse peoples of European descent in the new
nation; Frederick Douglass’s remarkable “Composite Nation” speech soon after the Civil War;
Randolph Bourne’s 1916 essay “Trans-National America”; and historian Oscar Handlin’s critique of
the law adopted in 1924 that severely restricted immigration from southern and eastern Europe.
All of the documents in this collection are “primary sources”—that is, they were written or spoken
by men and women enmeshed in the events of the past, rather than by later historians. They therefore
offer students the opportunity to encounter ideas about freedom in the actual words of participants in
the drama of American history. Some of the documents are reproduced in their entirety. Most are
excerpts from longer interviews, articles, or books. In editing the documents, I have tried to remain
faithful to the original purpose of the author, while highlighting the portion of a text that deals
directly with one or another aspect of freedom. In most cases, I have reproduced the wording of the
original texts exactly. But I have modernized the spelling and punctuation of some early documents
to make them more understandable to the modern reader. Each document is preceded by a brief
introduction that places it in historical context and is followed by two questions that highlight key
elements of the argument and may help to focus students’ thinking about the issues raised by the
A number of these documents were suggested by students in a U.S. history class at Juniata College in
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, taught by Professor David Hsiung. I am very grateful to these students,
who responded enthusiastically to an assignment by Professor Hsiung that asked them to locate
documents that might be included in Voices of Freedom and to justify their choices with historical
arguments. Some of the documents are included in the online exhibition “Preserving American
Freedom” created by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Taken together, the documents in these volumes suggest the ways in which American freedom has
changed and expanded over time. But they also remind us that American history is not simply a
narrative of continual progress toward greater and greater freedom. While freedom can be achieved,
it may also be reduced or rescinded. It can never be taken for granted.
Eric Foner
A New World
1. 1. Adam Smith, The Results of Colonization (1776)
2. 2. Giovanni da Verrazano, Encountering Native Americans (1524)
3. 3. Bartolomé de las Casas on Spanish Treatment of the Indians, from History of the Indies
4. 4. The Pueblo Revolt (1680)
5. 5. Father Jean de Bré beuf on the Customs and Beliefs of the Hurons (1635)
6. 6. Jewish Petition to the Dutch West India Company (1655)
1. Adam Smith, The Results of
Colonization (1776)
Source: Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (London,
1776), vol. 2, pp. 190–91, 235–37.
“The discovery of America,” the Scottish writer Adam Smith announced in his celebrated work The
Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, was one of “the two greatest and most important events
recorded in the history of mankind.” Smith is regarded as the founder of modern economics. It is not
surprising that looking back nearly three centuries after the initial voyage of Christopher Columbus
in 1492, Smith focused primarily on the economic results of the conquest and colonization of North
and South America. The influx of goods from the New World, he insisted, greatly increased the
“enjoyments” of the people of Europe and the market for European goods. Nonetheless, Smith did
not fail to note the price paid by the indigenous population of the New World, who suffered a
dramatic decline in population due to epidemics, wars of conquest, and the exploitation of their
labor. “Benefits” for some, Smith observed, went hand in hand with “dreadful misfortunes” for
others—a fitting commentary on the long encounter between the Old and New Worlds.
OF THE ADVANTAGES which Europe has derived from the Discovery of America, and from that of a
Passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope
What are [the advantages] which Europe has derived from the discovery and colonization of
The general advantages which Europe, considered as one great country, has derived from the
discovery and colonization of America, consist, first, in the increase of its enjoyments; and, secondly,
in the augmentation of its industry.
The surplus produce of America, imported into Europe, furnishes the inhabitants of this great
continent with a variety of commodities which they could not otherwise have possessed; some for
conveniency and use, some for pleasure, and some for ornament, and thereby contributes to increase
their enjoyments.
The discovery and colonization of America, it will readily be allowed, have contributed to augment
the industry, first, of all the countries which trade to it directly, such as Spain, Portugal, France, and
England; and, secondly, of all those which, without trading to it directly, send, through the medium
of other countries, goods to it of their own produce; such as Austrian Flanders, and some provinces
of Germany, which, through the medium of the countries before mentioned, send to it a considerable
quantity of linen and other goods. All such countries have evidently gained a more extensive market
for their surplus produce, and must consequently have been encouraged to increase its quantity. . . .
• • •
The discovery of America, and that of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope, are
the two greatest and most important events recorded in the history of mankind. Their consequences
have already been very great; but, in the short period of between two and three centuries which has
elapsed since these discoveries were made, it is impossible that the whole extent of their
consequences can have been seen. What benefits or what misfortunes to mankind may hereafter
result from those great events, no human wisdom can foresee. By uniting, in some measure, the most
distant parts of the world, by enabling them to relieve one another’s wants, to increase one another’s
enjoyments, and to encourage one another’s industry, their general tendency would seem to be
beneficial. To the natives however, both of the East and West Indies, all the commercial benefits
which can have resulted from those events have been sunk and lost in the dreadful misfortunes which
they have occasioned. . . .
• • •
In the meantime one of the principal effects of those discoveries has been to raise the mercantile
system to a degree of splendour and glory which it could never otherwise have attained to. It is the
object of that system to enrich a great nation rather by trade and manufactures than by the
improvement and cultivation of land, rather by the industry of the towns than by that of the country.
But, in consequence of those discoveries, the commercial towns of Europe, instead of being the
manufacturers and carriers for but a very small part of the world (that part of Europe which is
washed by the Atlantic Ocean, and the countries which lie round the Baltic and Mediterranean seas),
have now become the manufacturers for the numerous and thriving cultivators of America, and the
carriers and in some respects the manufacturers too, for almost all the different nations of Asia,
Africa, and America. Two new worlds have been opened to their industry, each of them much greater
and more extensive than the old one, and the market of one of them growing still greater and greater
every day.
1. According to Adam Smith, how did the “discovery and colonization” of America affect the
economic development of Europe?
2. Why does Smith believe that the “benefits” of colonization outweigh the “misfortunes”?
2. Giovanni da Verrazano, Encountering
Native Americans (1524)
Source: Giovanni da Verrazano, from The Voyages of Giovanni da Verrazano, 1524–1528,
Lawrence C. Wroth, ed., Susan Tarrow, trans. (1970), pp. 133–34, 137–38, 140–43. Copyright ©
1970 by Yale University Press. Reprinted by permission of Yale University Press.
One of the first European explorers to encounter the Indians of eastern North America, Giovanni da
Verrazano was an Italian-born navigator who sailed in 1524 under the auspices of King Philip I of
France. His voyage took him from modern-day Cape Fear, North Carolina, north to the coast of
Maine. In the following excerpt from his diary, which he included in a letter to the king, Verrazano
tries to describe the appearance, economic life, customs, and beliefs of some of the region’s various
Native American groups. Some, he reports, were friendly and generous; others warlike and hostile.
He is particularly interested in their spiritual beliefs, concluding that they have “no religion.”
Verrazano found the east coast thickly populated. By the time English settlement began in the early
seventeenth century, many of the groups he encountered had been all but destroyed by epidemic
SINCE THE STORM that we encountered in the northern regions, Most Serene King, I have not written
to tell your majesty of what happened to the four ships which you sent over the Ocean to explore new
lands, as I thought you had already been informed of everything—how we were forced by the fury of
the winds to return in distress to Brittany with only the Normandy and the Dauphine, and that after
undergoing repairs there, began our voyage with these two ships, equipped for war, following the
coasts of Spain, Your Most Serene Majesty will have heard; and then according to our new plan, we
continued the original voyage with only the Dauphine; now on our return from this voyage I will tell
Your Majesty of what we found. . . .
Seeing that the land continued to the south, we decided to turn and skirt it toward the north, where
we found the land we had sighted earlier. So we anchored off the coast and sent the small boat in to
land. We had seen many people coming to the seashore, but they fled when they saw us approaching;
several times they stopped and turned around to look at us in great wonderment. We reassured them
with various signs, and some of them came up, showing great delight at seeing us and marveling at
our clothes, appearance, and our whiteness; they showed us by various signs where we could most
easily secure the boat, and offered us some of their food. We were on land, and I shall now tell Your
Majesty briefly what we were able to learn of their life and customs.
They go completely naked except that around their loins they wear skins of small animals like
martens, with a narrow belt of grass around the body, to which they tie various rails of other animals
which hang down to the knees; the rest of the body is bare, and so is the head. Some of them wear
garlands of birds’ feathers. They are dark in color, not unlike the Ethiopians, with thick black hair,
not very long, tied back behind the head like a small tail. As for the physique of these men, they are
well proportioned, of medium height, a little taller than we are. They have broad chests, strong arms,
and the legs and other parts of the body are well composed. There is nothing else, except that they
tend to be rather broad in the face; but not all, for we saw many with angular faces. They have big
black eyes, and an attentive and open look. They are not very strong, but they have a sharp cunning,
and are agile and swift runners. From what we could tell from observation, in the last two respects
they resemble the Orientals. . . .
We reached another land 15 leagues from the island, where we found an excellent harbor; before
entering it, we saw about 20 boats full of people who came around the ship uttering various cries of
wonderment. They did not come nearer than fifty paces, but stopped to look at the structure of our
ship, our persons, and our clothes; then all together they raised a loud cry which meant that they were
joyful. We reassured them somewhat by imitating their gestures, and they came near enough for us to
throw them a few little bells and mirrors and many trinkets, which they took and looked at, laughing,
and then they confidently came on board ship. . . . These people are the most beautiful and have the
most civil customs that we have found on this voyage. They are taller than we are; they are a bronze
color, some tending more toward whiteness, others to a tawny color; the face is clear-cut; the hair is
long and black, and they take great pains to decorate it; the eyes are black and alert, and their manner
is sweet and gentle, very like the manner of the ancients. . . .
Their women are just as shapely and beautiful; very gracious, of attractive manner and pleasant
appearance; their customs and behavior follow womanly custom as far as befits human nature; they
go nude except for stag skin embroidered like the men’s, and some wear rich lynx skins on their
arms; their bare heads are decorated with various ornaments made of braids of their own hair which
hang down over their breasts on either side. . . . Both men and women have various trinkets hanging
from their ears as the Orientals do; and we saw that many had sheets of worked copper which they
prize more than gold. They do not value gold because of its color; they think it the most worthless of
all, and rate blue and red above all other colors. The things we gave them that they prized the most
were little bells, blue crystals, and other trinkets to put in the ear or around the neck. They did not
appreciate cloth of silk and gold, nor even of any other kind, nor did they care to have them; the
same was true for metals like steel and iron, for many times when we showed them some of our
arms, they did not admire them, nor ask for them, but merely examined the workmanship. They did
the same with mirrors; they would look at them quickly, and then refuse them, laughing.
They are very generous and give away all they have. We made great friends with them, and one day
before we entered the harbor with the ship, when we were lying at anchor one league out to sea
because of unfavorable weather, they came out to the ship with a great number of their boats; they
had painted and decorated their faces with various colors, showing us that it was a sign of happiness.
They brought us some of their food, and showed us by signs where we should anchor in the port for
the ship’s safety, and then accompanied us all the way until we dropped anchor. . . .
At a distance of fifty leagues, keeping more to the north, we found high country full of very dense
forests, composed of pines, cypresses, and similar trees which grow in cold regions.
The people were quite different from the others, for while the previous ones had been courteous in
manner, these were full of crudity and vices, and were so barbarous that we could never make any
communication with them, however many signs we made to them. They were clothed in skins of
bear, lynx, sea-wolf and other animals. As far as we could judge from several visits to their houses,
we think they live on game, fish, and several fruits which are a species of root which the earth
produces itself. . . . We saw no sign of cultivation, nor would the land be suitable for producing any
fruit or grain on account of its sterility. If we wanted to trade with them for some of their things, they
would come to the seashore on some rocks where the breakers were most violent, while we remained
in the little boat, and they sent us what they wanted to give on a rope, continually shouting at us not
to approach the land; they gave us the barter quickly, and would take in exchange only knives, hooks
for fishing and sharp metal. We found no courtesy in them, and when we had nothing more to
exchange and left them, the men made all the signs of scorn and shame that any brute creature would
make. Against their wishes, we penetrated two or three leagues inland with 25 armed men, and when
we disembarked on the shore, they shot at us with their bows and uttered loud cries before fleeing
into the woods. . . .
Due to a lack of [a common] language, we were unable to find out by signs or gestures how much
religious faith these people we found possess. We think they have neither religion nor laws, that they
do not know of a First Cause or Author, that they do not worship the sky, the stars, the sun, the
moon, or other planets, nor do they even practice any kind of idolatry; we do not know whether they
offer any sacrifices or other prayers, nor are there any temples or churches of prayer among their
peoples. We consider that they have no religion and that they live in absolute freedom, and that
everything they do proceeds from Ignorance; for they are very easily persuaded, and they imitated
everything that they saw us Christians do with regard to divine worship, with the same fervor and
enthusiasm that we had.
1. How much do Verrazano’s observations seem to be affected by his own beliefs and
2. Why does he write that Indians live in “absolute freedom,” and why does he consider this a
criticism rather than a compliment?
3. Bartolomé de las Casas on Spanish
Treatment of the Indians, from History of
the Indies (1528)
Source: Bartolomé de las Casas, “History of the Indies (1528),” excerpt from History of the
Indies, trans. and ed. Andrée M. Collard (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), pp. 82, 112–15.
Copyright © 1971 by Andrée Collard, renewed 1999 by Joyce J. Contrucci. Reprinted by
permission of Joyce Contrucci.
Known as the “Apostle of the Indians,” Bartolomé de las Casas, a Catholic priest, was the most
eloquent critic of Spanish mistreatment of the New World’s native population. Las Casas took part in
the exploitation of Indian labor on Hispaniola and Cuba. But in 1514, he freed his Indian slaves and
began to preach against the injustices of Spanish rule. In his History of the Indies, Las Casas
denounced Spain for causing the deaths of millions of innocent people. The excerpt that follows
details events on Hispaniola, the Caribbean island first conquered and settled by Spain. Las Casas
called for the Indians to enjoy the rights of other subjects of Spain.
Largely because of Las Casas’s efforts, in 1542 Spain promulgated the New Laws, ordering that
Indians no longer be enslaved. But Spain’s European rivals seized upon Las Casas’s criticisms to
justify their own ambitions. His writings became the basis for the Black Legend, the image of Spain
as a uniquely cruel empire. Other nations would claim that their imperial ventures were inspired by
the desire to rescue Indians from Spanish rule.
IN THAT YEAR of 1500, . . . the King determined to send a new governor to Hispaniola, which at the
time was the only seat of government in the Indies. The new governor was fray Nicolás de Ovando,
Knight of Alcántara, and at that time comendador of Lares.
• • •
At first, the Indians were forced to stay six months away at work; later, the time was extended to
eight months and this was called a shift, at the end of which they brought all the gold for minting.
The King’s part was subtracted and the rest went to individuals, but for years no one kept a single
peso because they owed it all to merchants and other creditors, so that the anguish and torments
endured by the Indians in mining that infernal gold were consumed entirely by God and no one
prospered. During the minting period, the Indians were allowed to go home, a few days’ journey on
foot. One can imagine their state when they arrived after eight months, and those who found their
wives there must have cried, lamenting their condition together. How could they even rest, since they
had to provide for the needs of their family when their land had gone to weeds? Of those who had
worked in the mines, a bare 10 per cent survived to start the journey home. Many Spaniards had no
scruples about making them work on Sundays and holidays, if not in the mines then on minor tasks
such as building and repairing houses, carrying firewood, etc. They fed them cassava bread, which is
adequate nutrition only when supplemented with meat, fish or other more substantial food. The
minero killed a pig once a week but he kept more than half for himself and had the leftover
apportioned and cooked daily for thirty or forty Indians, which came to a bite of meat the size of a
walnut per individual, and they dipped the cassava in this as well as in the broth.
• • •
The comendador arranged to have wages paid as follows, which I swear is the truth: in exchange for
his life of services, an Indian received 3 maravedís every two days, less one-half a maravedí in order
not to exceed the yearly half gold peso, that is, 225 maravedís, paid them once a year as pin money
or cacona, as Indians call it, which means bonus or reward. This sum bought a comb, a small mirror
and a string of green or blue glass beads, and many did without that consolation for they were paid
much less and had no way of mitigating their misery, although in truth, they offered their labor up for
nothing, caring only to fill their stomachs to appease their raging hunger and find ways to escape
from their desperate lives. For this loss of body and soul, then, they received less than 3 maravedís
for two days; many years later their wages were increased to 1 gold peso by the order of King
Hernando, and this was no less an affront, as I will show later.
I believe the above clearly demonstrates that the Indians were totally deprived of their freedom and
were put in the harshest, fiercest, most horrible servitude and captivity which no one who has not
seen it can understand. Even beasts enjoy more freedom when they are allowed to graze in the fields.
But our Spaniards gave no such opportunity to Indians and truly considered them perpetual slaves,
since the Indians had not the free will to dispose of their persons but instead were disposed of
according to Spanish greed and cruelty, not as men in captivity but as beasts tied to a rope to prevent
free movement. When they were allowed to go home, they often found it deserted and had no other
recourse than to go out into the woods to find food and to die. When they fell ill, which was very
frequently because they are a delicate people unaccustomed to such work, the Spaniards did not
believe them and pitilessly called them lazy dogs, and kicked and beat them; and when illness was
apparent they sent them home as useless, giving them some cassava for the twenty- to eighty-league
journey. They would go then, falling into the first stream and dying there in desperation; others
would hold on longer but very few ever made it home. I sometimes came upon dead bodies on my
way, and upon others who were gasping and moaning in their death agony, repeating “Hungry,
hungry.” And this was the freedom, the good treatment and the Christianity that Indians received.
• • •
About eight years passed under the comendador’s rule and this disorder had time to grow; no one
gave it a thought and the multitude of people who originally lived on this island . . . was consumed at
such a rate that in those eight years 90 per cent had perished. From here this sweeping plague went to
San Juan, Jamaica, Cuba and the continent, spreading destruction over the whole hemisphere.
• • •
1. What do you think Las Casas hoped to accomplish by writing so critically about Spanish
treatment of the Indians?
2. Why, after describing illness and starvation among the Indians, does Las Casas write, “This
was the freedom, the good treatment and the Christianity that Indians received”?
4. The Pueblo Revolt (1680)
Source: Charles W. Hackett, “Declarations of Josephe and Pedro Naranjo,” in Revolt of the
Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and Otermín’s Attempted Reconquest 1680–1682, vol. 2, pp.
238–48, 1942. Reprinted with permission of the University of New Mexico Press.
In 1680, the Pueblo Indians of modern-day New Mexico revolted against Spanish rule. During the
seventeenth century, governors, settlers, and missionaries had sought to exploit the labor of an Indian
population that declined from about 60,000 in 1600 to some 17,000 eighty years later. Franciscan
friars worked diligently, often violently, to convert Indians to Catholicism. Some natives accepted
baptism. But the friars’ efforts to stamp out traditional religious ceremonies in New Mexico—they
burned Indian idols, masks, and other sacred objects—alienated far more Indians than they
converted. Under the leadership of Popé, a local religious leader, the rebelling Indians killed 400
colonists, including twenty-one Franciscan missionaries. The Pueblo Revolt was the most complete
victory for Native Americans over Europeans and the only wholesale expulsion of settlers in the
history of North America. The uprising, concluded a royal attorney who interviewed survivors in
Mexico City, arose from the “many oppressions” the Indians had suffered. In 1692, the Spanish
launched an invasion that reconquered New Mexico.
Asked what causes or motives the said Indian rebels had for renouncing the law of God and
obedience to his Majesty, and for committing so many kinds of crimes, and who were the instigators
of the rebellion, and what he had heard while he was among the apostates, he said that the prime
movers of the rebellion were two Indians of San Juan, one named El Popé and the other El Taqu, and
another from Taos named Saca, and another from San Ildefonso named Francisco. He knows that
these were the principals, and the causes they gave were alleged ill treatment and injuries received
from the present secretary, Francisco Xavier, and the maestre de campo, Alonso García, and from the
sargentos mayores, Luis de Quintana and Diego López, because they beat them, took away what they
had, and made them work without pay. Thus he replies.
Asked if he has learned or it has come to his notice during the time that he has been here the reason
why the apostates burned the images, churches, and things pertaining to divine worship, making a
mockery and a trophy of them, killing the priests and doing the other things they did, he said that he
knows and has heard it generally stated that while they were besieging the villa the rebellious traitors
burned the church and shouted in loud voices, “Now the God of the Spaniards, who was their father,
is dead, and Santa Maria, who was their mother, and the saints, who were pieces of rotten wood,”
saying that only their own god lived. Thus they ordered all the temples and images, crosses and
rosaries burned, and this function being over, they all went to bathe in the rivers, saying that they
thereby washed away the water of baptism. For their churches, they placed on the four sides and in
the center of the plaza some small circular enclosures of stone where they went to offer flour,
feathers, and the seed of maguey, maize, and tobacco, and performed other superstitious rites, giving
the children to understand that they must all do this in the future. The captains and chiefs ordered that
the names of Jesus and of Mary should nowhere be uttered, and that they should discard their
baptismal names, and abandon the wives whom God had given them in matrimony, and take the ones
that they pleased. He saw that as soon as the remaining Spaniards had left, they ordered all the
estufas erected, which are their houses of idolatry, and danced throughout the kingdom the dance of
the cazina, making many masks for it in the image of the devil. Thus he replied to this question. . . .
Asked if he knows, or whether it has come to his notice, that the said apostates have erected houses
of idolatry which they call estufas in the pueblos, and have practiced dances and superstitions, he
said there is a general report throughout the kingdom that they have done so and he has seen many
houses of idolatry which they have built, dancing the dance of the cachina, which this declarant has
also danced. Thus he replied to the question.
Asked for what reason they so blindly burned the images, temples, crosses, and other things of divine
worship, he stated that the said Indian, Popé, came down in person, and with him El Saca and El
Chato from the pueblo of Los Taos, and other captains and leaders and many people who were in his
train, and he ordered in all the pueblos through which he passed that they instantly break up and burn
the images of the holy Christ, the Virgin Mary and the other saints, the crosses, and everything
pertaining to Christianity, and that they burn the temples, break up the bells, and separate from the
wives whom God had given them in marriage and take those whom they desired. In order to take
away their baptismal names, the water, and the holy oils, they were to plunge into the rivers and
wash themselves with amole, which is a root native to the country, washing even their clothing, with
the understanding that there would thus be taken from them the character of the holy sacraments.
They did this, and also many other things which he does not recall, given to understand that this
mandate had come from the Caydi and the other two who emitted fire from their extremities in the
said estufa of Taos, and that they thereby returned to the state of their antiquity, as when they came
from the lake of Copala; that this was the better life and the one they desired, because the God of the
Spaniards was worth nothing and theirs was very strong, the Spaniards’ God being rotten wood.
These things were observed and obeyed by all except some who, moved by the zeal of Christians,
opposed it, and such persons the said Popé caused to be killed immediately. He saw to it that they at
once erected and rebuilt their houses of idolatry which they call estufas, and made very ugly masks
in imitation of the devil in order to dance the dance of the cacina; and he said likewise that the devil
had given them to understand that living thus in accordance with the law of their ancestors, they
would harvest a great deal of maize, many beans, a great abundance of cotton, calabashes, and very
large watermelons and cantaloupes; and that they could erect their houses and enjoy abundant health
and leisure.
1. What actions did Indians take during the Pueblo Revolt to demonstrate their new freedom from
Spanish rule?
2. Why do you think religion played such a large role in the Pueblo Revolt?
5. Father Jean de Brébeuf on the Customs
and Beliefs of the Hurons (1635)
Source: Reuben G. Thwaites, ed., The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents: Travels and
Explorations of the Jesuit Missionaries in New France, 1610–1791 (Cleveland, 1896–1901), vol.
12, pp. 117–24.
The viability of New France, with its small white population and emphasis on the fur trade rather
than agricultural settlement, depended on friendly relations with local Indians. The French neither
appropriated substantial amounts of Indian land like the English nor conquered native inhabitants
militarily and set them to forced labor, as in Spanish America. The Jesuits, a missionary religious
order, sought to convert Indians to Catholicism. One of the Jesuit missionaries to the Huron people in
modern-day Quebec, Jean de Brébeuf, left a vivid description of the lives and customs of the Indians.
In the following excerpt, he dwells upon their religious beliefs, marriage customs, and gender
relations—all aspects of Indian life that seemed very alien to Europeans—and describes how he tried
to convert them. De Brébeuf was killed after being captured during a war between Hurons and
Iroquois in 1649.
IT REMAINS NOW to say something of the country, of the manners and customs of the Hurons, of the
inclination they have to the Faith, and of our insignificant labors.
As to the first, the little paper and leisure we have compels me to say in a few words what might
justly fill a volume. The Huron country is not large, its greatest extent can be traversed in three or
four days. Its situation is fine, the greater part of it consisting of plains. It is surrounded and
intersected by a number of very beautiful lakes or rather seas, whence it comes that the one to the
North and to the Northwest is called “fresh-water sea” [Lake Huron]. . . . There are twenty Towns,
which indicate about 30,000 souls speaking the same tongue, which is not difficult to one who has a
master. It has distinctions of genders, number, tense, person, moods; and, in short, it is very complete
and very regular, contrary to the opinion of many. . . .
It is so evident that there is a Divinity who has made Heaven and earth that our Hurons cannot
entirely ignore it. But they misapprehend him grossly. For they have neither Temples, nor Priests,
nor Feasts, nor any ceremonies.
They say that a certain woman called Eataensic is the one who made earth and man. They give her
an assistant, one named Jouskeha, whom they declare to be her little son, with whom she governs the
world. This Jouskeha has care of the living, and of the things that concern life, and consequently they
say that he is good. Eataensic has care of souls; and, because they believe that she makes men die,
they say that she is wicked. And there are among them mysteries so hidden that only the old men,
who can speak with authority about them, are believed.
This God and Goddess live like themselves, but without famine; make feasts as they do, are lustful as
they are; in short, they imagine them exactly like themselves. And still, though they make them
human and corporeal, they seem nevertheless to attribute to them a certain immensity in all places.
They say that this Eataensic fell from the Sky, where there are inhabitants as on earth, and when she
fell, she was with child. If you ask them who made the sky and its inhabitants, they have no other
reply than that they know nothing about it. And when we preach to them of one God, Creator of
Heaven and earth, and of all things, and even when we talk to them of Hell and Paradise and of our
other mysteries, the headstrong reply that this is good for our Country and not for theirs; that every
Country has its own fashions. But having pointed out to them, by means of a little globe that we had
brought, that there is only one world, they remain without reply.
I find in their marriage customs two things that greatly please me; the first, that they have only one
wife; the second, that they do not marry their relatives in a direct or collateral line, however distant
they may be. There is, on the other hand, sufficient to censure, were it only the frequent changes the
men make of their wives, and the women of their husbands.
They believe in the immortality of the soul, which they believe to be corporeal. The greatest part of
their Religion consists of this point. We have seen several stripped, or almost so, of all their goods,
because several of their friends were dead, to whose souls they had made presents. Moreover, dogs,
fish, deer, and other animals have, in their opinion, immortal and reasonable souls. In proof of this,
the old men relate certain fables, which they represent as true; they make no mention either of
punishment or reward, in the place to which souls go after death. And so they do not make any
distinction between the good and the bad, the virtuous and the vicious; and they honor equally the
interment of both, even as we have seen in the case of a young man who poisoned himself from the
grief he felt because his wife had been taken away from him. Their superstitions are infinite, their
feast, their medicines, their fishing, their hunting, their wars,—in short almost their whole life turns
upon this pivot; dreams, above all have here great credit.
As regards morals, the Hurons are lascivious, although in two leading points less so than many
Christians, who will blush some day in their presence. You will see no kissing nor immodest
caressing; and in marriage a man will remain two or three years apart from his wife, while she is
nursing. They are gluttons, even to disgorging; it is true, that does not happen often, but only in some
superstitious feasts,—these, however, they do not attend willingly. Besides they endure hunger much
better than we,—so well that after having fasted two or three entire days you will see them still
paddling, carrying loads, singing, laughing, bantering, as if they had dined well. They are very lazy,
are liars, thieves, pertinacious beggars. Some consider them vindictive; but, in my opinion, this vice
is more noticeable elsewhere than here.
We see shining among them some rather noble moral virtues. You note, in the first place, a great love
and union, which they are careful to cultivate by means of their marriages, of their presents, of their
feasts, and of their frequent visits. On returning from their fishing, their hunting, and their trading,
they exchange many gifts; if they have thus obtained something unusually good, even if they have
bought it, or if it has been given to them, they make a feast to the whole village with it. Their
hospitality towards all sorts of strangers is remarkable; they present to them, in their feasts, the best
of what they have prepared, and, as I have already said, I do not know if anything similar, in this
regard, is to be found anywhere. They never close the door upon a Stranger, and, once having
received him into their houses, they share with him the best they have; they never send him away,
and when he goes away of his own accord, he repays them by a simple “thank you.”
• • •
About the month of December, the snow began to lie on the ground, and the savages settled down
into the village. For, during the whole Summer and Autumn, they are for the most part either in their
rural cabins, taking care of their crops, or on the lake fishing, or trading; which makes it not a little
inconvenient to instruct them. Seeing them, therefore, thus gathered together at the beginning of this
year, we resolved to preach publicly to all, and to acquaint them with the reason of our coming into
their Country, which is not for their furs, but to declare to them the true God and his son, Jesus
Christ, the universal Saviour of our souls.
The usual method that we follow is this: We call together the people by the help of the Captain of the
village, who assembles them all in our house as in Council, or perhaps by the sound of the bell. I use
the surplice and the square cap, to give more majesty to my appearance. At the beginning we chant
on our knees the Pater noster, translated into Huron verse. Father Daniel, as its author, chants a
couplet alone, and then we all together chant it again; and those among the Hurons, principally the
little ones, who already know it, take pleasure in chanting it with us. That done, when every one is
seated, I rise and make the sign of the Cross for all; then, having recapitulated what I said last time, I
explain something new. After that we question the young children and the girls, giving a little bead
of glass or porcelain to those who deserve it. The parents are very glad to see their children answer
well and carry off some little prize, of which they render themselves worthy by the care they take to
come privately to get instruction. On our part, to arouse their emulation, we have each lesson
retraced by our two little French boys, who question each other,—which transports the Savages with
admiration. Finally the whole is concluded by the talk of the Old Men, who propound their
difficulties, and sometimes make me listen in my turn to the statement of their belief.
Two things among others have aided us very much in the little we have been able to do here, by the
grace of our Lord; the first is, as I have already said, the good health that God has granted us in the
midst of sickness so general and so widespread. The second is the temporal assistance we have
rendered to the sick. Having brought for ourselves some few delicacies, we shared them with them,
giving to one a few prunes, and to another a few raisins, to others something else. The poor people
came from great distances to get their share.
1. Which aspects of Indian practices and beliefs does de Brébeuf find admirable and which does
he criticize most strongly?
2. How do Huron gender and family relations seem to differ from those of Europeans?
6. Jewish Petition to the Dutch West India
Company (1655)
Source: Samuel Oppenheim, “The Early History of the Jews in New York City, 1654–1664,” in
Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society (1909), pp. 9–11.
Among European colonies in the seventeenth century, New Netherland was noted for religious
toleration, although its rulers made a careful distinction between private worship in a home, which
was allowed, and public worship, which was confined to the established Dutch Reformed church. In
1655, a group of Jews arrived from Brazil, from which they had been expelled after the Portuguese
wrested control of the colony from the Dutch. When Governor Petrus Stuyvesant ordered them to
leave, Jews in Amsterdam asked the Dutch West India Company to reverse the decision. The
company granted the request, so long as the newcomers did not become a public “charge”—that is,
require financial assistance.
TO THE HONORABLE Lords, Directors of the Chartered West India Company, Chamber of the City of
The merchants of the Portuguese Nation residing in this City respectfully remonstrate to your Honors
that it has come to their knowledge that your Honors raise obstacles to the giving of permits or
passports to the Portuguese Jews to travel and to go to reside in New Netherland, which if persisted
in will result to the great disadvantage of the Jewish nation. It also can be of no advantage to the
general Company but rather damaging.
There are many of the nation who have lost their possessions at Pernambuco [Brazil] and have
arrived from there in great poverty, and part of them have been dispersed here and there. So that your
petitioners had to expend large sums of money for their necessaries of life, and through lack of
opportunity all cannot remain here to live. And as they cannot go to Spain or Portugal because of the
Inquisition, a great part of the aforesaid people must in time be obliged to depart for other territories
of their High Mightinesses the States-General and their Companies, in order there, through their
labor and efforts, to be able to exist under the protection of the administrators of your Honorable
Directors, observing and obeying your Honors’ orders and commands.
It is well known to your Honors that the Jewish nation in Brazil have at all times been faithful and
have striven to guard and maintain that place, risking for that purpose their possessions and their
Yonder land is extensive and spacious. The more of loyal people that go to live there, the better it is
in regard to the population of the country as in regard to the payment of various excises and taxes
which may be imposed there, and in regard to the increase of trade, and also to the importation of all
the necessaries that may be sent there.
Your Honors should also consider that the Honorable Lords, the Burgomasters of the City and the
Honorable High Illustrious Mighty Lords, the States-General, have in political matters always
protected and considered the Jewish nation as upon the same footing as all the inhabitants and
burghers. Also it is conditioned in the treaty of perpetual peace with the King of Spain that the
Jewish nation shall also enjoy the same liberty as all other inhabitants of these lands.
Your Honors should also please consider that many of the Jewish nation are principal shareholders in
the Company. They having always striven their best for the Company, and many of their nation have
lost immense and great capital in its shares and obligations.
The Company has by a general resolution consented that those who wish to populate the Colony
shall enjoy certain districts of land gratis. Why should now certain subjects of this State not be
allowed to travel thither and live there? The French consent that the Portuguese Jews may traffic and
live in Martinique, Christopher and others of their territories, whither also some have gone from
here, as your Honors know. The English also consent at the present time that the Portuguese and
Jewish nation may go from London and settle at Barbados, whither also some have gone.
As foreign nations consent that the Jewish nation may go to live and trade in their territories, how
can your Honors forbid the same and refuse transportation to this Portuguese nation who reside here
and have been settled here well on to about sixty years, many also being born here and confirmed
burghers, and this to a land that needs people for its increase?
Therefore the petitioners request, for the reasons given above (as also others which they omit to
avoid prolixity), that your Honors be pleased not to exclude but to grant the Jewish nation passage to
and residence in that country; otherwise this would result in a great prejudice to their reputation. Also
that by an Apostille and Act the Jewish nation be permitted, together with other inhabitants, to travel,
live and traffic there, and with them enjoy liberty on condition of contributing like others, &c.
1. What does the petition tell us about the extent of religious toleration in the seventeenth
2. How do the petitioners argue that allowing Jews to settle will benefit New Netherland?
Beginnings of English America, 1607–
7. Exchange between John Smith and Powhatan (1608)
8. Sending Women to Virginia (1622)
9. Henry Care, English Liberties (1680)
10. John Winthrop, Speech to the Massachusetts General Court (1645)
11. The Trial of Anne Hutchinson (1637)
12. Roger Williams, Letter to the Town of Providence (1655)
13. The Levellers, The Agreement of the People Presented to the Council of the Army (1647)
7. Exchange between John Smith and
Powhatan (1608)
Source: John Smith, The Generall Historie of Virginia . . . (London, 1624), pp. 74–76.
When English colonists arrived in Virginia in 1607, they landed in an area inhabited by more than
15,000 Indians, members of some thirty tribes loosely united in a confederacy whose leader the
settlers called Powhatan, the native word for both his tribe and the title of paramount chief. In a
history written in 1624, the English leader John Smith recalled his exchange with Powhatan sixteen
years earlier. Of course, Powhatan’s words are filtered through Smith’s memory. But the exchange
seems to capture differences in outlook between the two leaders.
THE 12 OF JANUARY we arrived at Werowocomoco. . . . Quartering in the next houses we found, we
sent to Powhatan for provision, who sent us plenty of bread, turkeys, and venison; the next day
having feasted us after his ordinary manner, he began to ask us when we would be gone, saying he
sent not for us, neither had he any corn; and his people much less, yet for forty swords he would
procure us forty baskets. . . . The King concluded the matter with a merry laughter, asking for our
commodities, but none he liked without guns and swords, valuing a basket of corn more precious
than a basket of copper, saying he would rate his corn, but not the copper.
Captain Smith seeing the intent of this subtle savage began to deal with him after this manner.
Powhatan, though I had many courses to have made my provision, yet believing your promises to
supply my wants, I neglected all to satisfy your desire, and to testify my life, I sent you my men for
your building, neglecting my own. What your people had you have engrossed, forbidding them our
trade, and now you think by consuming the time, we shall consume for want, not having to fulfill
your strange demands. As for swords and guns, I told you long ago I had none to spare, and you must
know those I have can keep me from want, yet steal or wrong you I will not, nor dissolve that
friendship we have mutually promised, except you constrain me by our bad usage.
The King having attentively listened to this discourse, promised that both he and his country would
spare him what he could, which within two days they should receive. Yet Captain Smith, said the
King, some doubt I have of your coming hither, that makes me not so kindly seek to relieve you as I
would, for many do inform me, your coming hither is not for trade, but to invade my people, and
possess my country, who dare not come to bring you corn, seeing you thus armed with your men. To
free us of this fear, leave abroad your weapons, for here they are useless, we being all friends, and for
ever Powhatan’s. . . .
While we expected the coming in of the country, we wrangled out of the King ten quarters of corn
for a copper kettle. . . . Wherewith each seemed well contented, and Powhatan began to expostulate
the difference of Peace and War after this manner.
Captain Smith, you may understand that I having seen the death of all my people thrice, and not any
one living of these three generations but myself, I know the difference of Peace and War better than
any in my country. But now I am old and ere long must die, my brethren, namely Opichapam,
Opechancanough, and Kekataugh, my two sisters, and their two daughters, are distinctly each others
successors. I wish their experience no less than mine, and your love to them no less than mine to you.
But this [rumor] that you are come to destroy my country, so much frightens all my people as they
dare not visit you. What will it avail you to take that by force you may quickly have by love, or to
destroy them that provide you food? What can you get by war, when we can hide our provisions and
fly to the woods, whereby you must famish by wronging us your friends. And why are you thus
jealous of our loves seeing us unarmed, and both do and are willing still to feed you, with that you
cannot get but by our laborers? Think you I am so simple, not to know it is better to eat good meat,
lie well, and sleep quietly with my women and children, laugh and be merry with you, have copper,
hatchets, or what I want being your friend, than be forced to fly from all, to lie cold in the woods,
feed upon acorns, roots, and such trash, and be so hunted by you, that I can neither rest, eat, nor
sleep, but my tired men must watch, and if a twig but break, every one cries there comes Captain
Smith. Then I must fly I know not where, and thus with miserable fear, end my miserable life,
leaving my pleasures to such youths as you. . . . Let this therefore assure you of our love, and every
year our friendly trade shall furnish you with corn, and now also, if you would come in friendly
manner to see us, and not this with your guns and swords as to invade your foes.
To this subtle discourse, [Smith] replied.
Seeing you will not rightly conceive of our words, we strive to make you know our thoughts by our
deeds; the vow I made you of my love, both myself and my men have kept. As for your promise I
find it every day violated by some of your subjects, yet we finding your love and kindness, our
custom is so far from being ungrateful, that for your sake only we have curbed our thirsting desire of
revenge, else had they known as well the cruelty we use to our enemies, as our true love and courtesy
to our friends. And I think your judgment sufficient to conceive, as well by the adventures we have
undertaken, as by the advantage we have (by our arms) of yours, that had we intended you any hurt,
long ere this we could have effected it.
1. What goods does each leader seek from the other?
2. How does the exchange illuminate some of the roots of conflict between settlers and Indians?
8. Sending Women to Virginia (1622)
Source: Susan Myra Kingsbury, ed., The Records of the Virginia Company of London
(Washington, D.C., 1906–35), vol. 1, pp. 256–57.
Early Virginia lacked one essential element of English society—stable family life. Given the demand
for male servants to work in the tobacco fields, for most of the seventeenth century men in the
Chesapeake outnumbered women by four or five to one. The Virginia Company avidly promoted the
immigration of women, sending “tobacco brides” to the colony in 1620 and 1621 for arranged
marriages (so-called because the husband was ordered to give a payment in tobacco to his wife). The
company preferred that the women marry only free, independent colonists. Unlike these women,
however, the vast majority of women who emigrated to the region in the seventeenth century came as
indentured servants. Since they usually had to complete their terms of service before marrying, they
did not begin to form families until their mid-twenties. Virginia remained for many years a society
with large numbers of single men, widows, and orphans rather than the family-oriented community
the company desired.
WE SEND YOU in this ship one widow and eleven maids for wives for the people in Virginia. There
hath been especial care had in the choice of them; for there hath not any one of them been received
but upon good commendations, as by a note herewith sent you may perceive. We pray you all
therefore in general to take them into your care; and more especially we recommend them to you
Master Pountis, that at their first landing they may be housed, lodged and provided for of diet till
they be married, for such was the haste of sending them away, as that straitened with time we had no
means to put provisions aboard, which defect shall be supplied by the magazine ship. And in case
they cannot be presently married, we desire they may be put to several householders that have wives
till they can be provided of husbands. There are near fifty more which are shortly to come, are sent
by our most honorable Lord and Treasurer the Earl of Southampton and certain worthy gentlemen,
who taking into their consideration that the Plantation can never flourish till families be planted and
the respect of wives and children fix the people on the soil, therefore have given this fair beginning,
for the reimbursing of whose charges it is ordered that every man that marries them give 120 lbs.
weight of the best leaf tobacco for each of them, and in case any of them die, that proportion must be
advanced to make it up upon those that survive. . . . And though we are desirous that marriage be free
according to the law of nature, yet would we not have these maids deceived and married to servants,
but only to freemen or tenants as have means to maintain them. We pray you therefore to be fathers
to them in this business, not enforcing them to marry against their wills; neither send we them to be
servants, save in case of extremity, for we would have their condition so much bettered as multitudes
may be allured thereby to come unto you. And you may assure such men as marry those women that
the first servants sent over by the Company shall be consigned to them, it being our intent to preserve
families and to prefer married men before single persons.
1. What advantages does the Virginia Company see in the promotion of family life in the colony?
2. Why does the company prefer that the women marry landowning men rather than servants?
9. Henry Care, English Liberties (1680)
Source: Henry Care, English Liberties: Or, The Free-Born Subject’s Inheritance (London,
1680), pp. 1–5.
The political battles of the seventeenth century ended with England enjoying a “mixed” or
“balanced” constitutional system in which the king continued to rule, but his power was restrained by
that of Parliament and by the rule of law. In 1680, in his book, English Liberties: Or, The Free-Born
Subject’s Inheritance, the writer Henry Care contrasted the government of England with democracy
on the one hand and unrestrained monarchy on the other, as represented by France and other
European countries. He described English government as “qualified monarchy,” and called it the best
political structure in the world.
Care was hardly egalitarian in outlook. He wrote of a society composed of “superior” and “inferior”
classes. But he insisted that the essence of English liberty was that all citizens were “guarded in their
persons and property by the fence of law,” and could not be subjected to imprisonment or loss of
property without being tried before a jury of their peers. By the 1680s, it had become a commonplace
that England was the freest nation on earth. Care claimed that the English were freer and happier
than any other people. The belief in freedom as the common heritage of all Englishmen and their
empire as the world’s guardian of liberty would help to legitimize English colonization in the
Western Hemisphere and to cast its imperial wars against Catholic France and Spain as struggles
between freedom and tyranny.
THE CONSTITUTION OF our English government (the best in the world) is no arbitrary tyranny like the
Turkish Grand Seignior’s, or the French King’s, whose wills (or rather lusts) dispose of the lives and
fortunes of their unhappy subjects; nor an Oligarchy where the great men (like fish in the ocean) prey
upon, and live by devouring the lesser at their pleasure. Nor yet a Democracy or popular state, much
less an Anarchy, where all confusedly are hail fellows well met. But a most excellently mixed or
qualified Monarchy, where the King is vested with large prerogatives sufficient to support majesty;
and restrained only from power of doing himself and his people harm, which would be contrary to
the end of all government . . . the nobility adorned with privileges to be a screen to majesty, and a
refreshing shade to their inferiors, and the commonality, too, so guarded in their persons and
properties by the fence of law, [which] renders them Freemen, not Slaves.
In France and other nations the mere will of the prince is law, his word takes off any man’s head,
imposes taxes, or seizes any man’s estate, when, how, and as often as he [wishes], and if one be
accused or but so much suspected of any crime, he may either presently execute him, or banish or
imprison him at pleasure. . . . Nay if there be no witnesses, yet he may be put to the rack, the tortures
thereof make an innocent person confess himself guilty. . . .
But in England, the law is both the measure and the bond of every subject’s duty and allegiance, each
man having a fixed fundamental right born with him as to the freedom of his person and property in
his estate, which he cannot be deprived of, but either by his consent, or some crime for which the law
has imposed such a penalty as forfeiture. . . .
This original happy frame of government is truly and properly called an Englishman’s liberty, a
privilege not to [be] exempt from the law, but to be freed in person and estate, from arbitrary
violence and oppression. . . . And this birthright of Englishmen shines most conspicuously in two
things: Parliaments [and] juries.
By the first, the subject has a share by his chosen representatives in the legislative (or law-making)
power, for no new laws bind the people of England, but such as are by common consent agreed on in
that great council.
By the second, he has a share in the executive part of the law, no causes being tried, nor any man
adjudged to lose life . . . or estate but upon the verdict of his peers (or equals). . . . These two grand
pillars of English liberty, are the fundamental vital privileges, whereby we have been and are
preserved more free and happy than any other people in the world.
1. Why does Henry Care consider the English system of government “the best in the world”?
2. How does Care define “an Englishman’s liberty”?
10. John Winthrop, Speech to the
Massachusetts General Court (1645)
Source: John Winthrop, Speech to the General Court of Massachusetts, July 3, 1645, in James
Savage, The History of New England from 1630 to 1649 by John Winthrop (Boston, 1825–26),
vol. 2, pp. 279–82.
The early settlers of New England were mainly Puritans, English Protestants who believed that the
Church of England in the early seventeenth century retained too many elements of Catholicism. Like
other emigrants to America, Puritans came in search of liberty, especially the right to worship and
govern themselves in what they deemed a Christian manner. Freedom for Puritans had nothing to do
with either religious toleration or unrestrained individual behavior. In a 1645 speech to the
Massachusetts legislature explaining the Puritan conception of freedom, Governor John Winthrop
distinguished sharply between two kinds of liberty. “Natural” liberty, or acting without restraint,
suggested “a liberty to [do] evil.” “Moral” liberty meant “a liberty to [do] that only which is good.” It
meant obedience to religious and governmental authority—following God’s law and the law of rulers
like Winthrop himself.
Winthrop’s distinction between “moral” and “natural” liberty has been invoked many times by
religious groups who feared that Americans were becoming selfish and immoral and who tried to
impose their moral standards on society as a whole.
• • •
THE GREAT QUESTIONS that have troubled the country, are about the authority of the magistrates and
the liberty of the people. It is yourselves who have called us to this office, and being called by you,
we have our authority from God, in way of an ordinance, such as hath the image of God eminently
stamped upon it, the contempt and violation whereof hath been vindicated with examples of divine
vengeance. I entreat you to consider, that when you choose magistrates, you take them from among
yourselves, men subject to like passions as you are. Therefore when you see infirmities in us, you
should reflect upon your own, and that would make you bear the more with us, and not be severe
censurers of the failings of your magistrates, when you have continual experience of the like
infirmities in yourselves and others. We account him a good servant, who breaks not his covenant.
The covenant between you and us is the oath you have taken of us, which is to this purpose, that we
shall govern you and judge your causes by the rules of God’s laws and our own, according to our
best skill. When you agree with a workman to build you a ship or house, etc., he undertakes as well
for his skill as for his faithfulness, for it is his profession, and you pay him for both. But when you
call one to be a magistrate, he doth not profess nor undertake to have sufficient skill for that office,
nor can you furnish him with gifts, etc., therefore you must run the hazard of his skill and ability. But
if he fail in faithfulness, which by his oath he is bound unto, that he must answer for. If it fall out that
the case be clear to common apprehension, and the rule clear also, if he transgress here, the error is
not in the skill, but in the evil of the will: it must be required of him. But if the case be doubtful, or
the rule doubtful, to men of such understanding and parts as your magistrates are, if your magistrates
should err here, yourselves must bear it.
For the other point concerning liberty, I observe a great mistake in the country about that. There is a
twofold liberty, natural (I mean as our nature is now corrupt) and civil or federal. The first is
common to man with beasts and other creatures. By this, man, as he stands in relation to man simply,
hath liberty to do what he lists; it is a liberty to evil as well as to good. This liberty is incompatible
and inconsistent with authority, and cannot endure the least restraint of the most just authority. The
exercise and maintaining of this liberty makes men grow more evil, and in time to be worse than
brute beasts. . . . This is that great enemy of truth and peace, that wild beast, which all the ordinances
of God are bent against, to restrain and subdue it. The other kind of liberty I call civil or federal, it
may also be termed moral, in reference to the covenant between God and man, in the moral law, and
the politic covenants and constitutions, amongst men themselves. This liberty is the proper end and
object of authority, and cannot subsist without it; and it is a liberty to that only which is good, just,
and honest. This liberty you are to stand for, with the hazard (not only of your goods, but) of your
lives, if need be. Whatsoever crosseth this, is not authority, but a distemper thereof. This liberty is
maintained and exercised in a way of subjection to authority; it is of the same kind of liberty
wherewith Christ hath made us free. The woman’s own choice makes such a man her husband; yet
being so chosen, he is her lord, and she is to be subject to him, yet in a way of liberty, not of
bondage; and a true wife accounts her subjection her honor and freedom, and would not think her
condition safe and free, but in her subjection to her husband’s authority. Such is the liberty of the
church under the authority of Christ, her king and husband; his yoke is so easy and sweet to her as a
bride’s ornaments; and if through forwardness or wantonness, etc., she shake it off, at any time, she
is at no rest in her spirit, until she take it up again; and whether her lord smiles upon her, and
embraceth her in his arms, or whether he frowns, or rebukes, or smites her, she apprehends the
sweetness of his love in all, and is refreshed, supported, and instructed by every such dispensation of
his authority over her. On the other side, ye know who they are that complain of this yoke and say,
let us break their bands, etc., we will not have this man to rule over us. Even so, brethren, it will be
between you and your magistrates. If you stand for your natural corrupt liberties, and will do what is
good in your own eyes, you will not endure the least weight of authority, but will murmur, and
oppose, and be always striving to shake off that yoke; but if you will be satisfied to enjoy such civil
and lawful liberties, such as Christ allows you, then will you quietly and cheerfully submit unto that
authority which is set over you, in all the administrations of it, for your good. Wherein, if we fail at
anytime, we hope we shall be willing (by God’s assistance) to hearken to good advice from any of
you, or in any other way of God; so shall your liberties be preserved, in upholding the honor and
power of authority amongst you.
1. Why does Winthrop use an analogy to the status of women within the family to explain his
understanding of liberty?
2. Why does Winthrop consider “natural” liberty dangerous?
11. The Trial of Anne Hutchinson (1637)
Source: Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Colony and Province of Massachusetts-Bay:
Volume II, edited by Lawrence Shaw Mayo, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,
Copyright © 1936 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © renewed 1964 by
Lawrence Shaw Mayo.
A midwife and the daughter of a clergyman, Anne Hutchinson arrived in Massachusetts with her
husband in 1634. She began holding meetings in her home where she led discussions of religious
issues. Hutchinson charged that most of the ministers in Massachusetts were guilty of faulty
preaching by distinguishing “saints” predestined to go to Heaven from the damned through activities
such as church attendance and moral behavior rather than by an inner state of grace.
In 1637, Hutchinson was placed on trial before a civil court for sedition (expressing opinions
dangerous to authority). Hutchinson’s examination by John Winthrop and deputy governor Thomas
Dudley, excerpted below, is a classic example of the collision between established power and
individual conscience. For a time, Hutchinson more than held her own. But when she spoke of divine
revelations, of God speaking to her directly rather than through ministers or the Bible, she violated
Puritan doctrine and sealed her own fate. Hutchinson and a number of her followers were banished.
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: Mrs. Hutchinson, you are called here as one of those that have troubled
the peace of the commonwealth and the churches here; you are known to be a woman that hath had a
great share in the promoting and divulging of those opinions that are the cause of this trouble, and to
be nearly joined not only in affinity and affection with some of those the court had taken notice of
and passed censure upon, but you have spoken divers things, as we have been informed, very
prejudicial to the honour of the churches and ministers thereof, and you have maintained a meeting
and an assembly in your house that hath been condemned by the general assembly as a thing not
tolerable nor comely in the sight of God nor fitting for your sex, and notwithstanding that was cried
down you have continued the same. Therefore we have thought good to send for you to understand
how things are, that if you be in an erroneous way we may reduce you that so you may become a
profitable member here among us. Otherwise if you be obstinate in your course that then the court
may take such course that you may trouble us no further. Therefore I would intreat you to express
whether you do assent and hold in practice to those opinions and factions that have been handled in
court already, that is to say, whether you do not justify Mr. Wheelwright’s sermon and the petition.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: I am called here to answer before you but I hear no things laid to my
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: I have told you some already and more I can tell you.
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: Have I not named some already?
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: What have I said or done?
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: Why for your doings, this you did harbor and countenance those that
are parties in this faction that you have heard of.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: That’s matter of conscience, Sir.
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: Your conscience you must keep, or it must be kept for you.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: Must not I then entertain the saints because I must keep my
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: Say that one brother should commit felony or treason and come to his
brother’s house, if he knows him guilty and conceals him he is guilty of the same. It is his conscience
to entertain him, but if his conscience comes into act in giving countenance and entertainment to him
that hath broken the law he is guilty too. So if you do countenance those that are transgressors of the
law you are in the same fact.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: What law do they transgress?
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: The law of God and of the state.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: In what particular?
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: Why in this among the rest, whereas the Lord doth say honour thy
father and thy mother.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: Ey Sir in the Lord.
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: This honour you have broke in giving countenance to them.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: In entertaining those did I entertain them against any act (for there
is the thing) or what God has appointed?
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: You knew that Mr. Wheelwright did preach this sermon and those that
countenance him in this do break a law.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: What law have I broken?
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: Why the fifth commandment.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: I deny that for he (Mr. Wheelwright) saith in the Lord.
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: You have joined with them in the faction.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: In what faction have I joined with them?
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: In presenting the petition.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: Suppose I had set my hand to the petition. What then?
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: You saw that case tried before.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: But I had not my hand to (not signed) the petition.
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: You have councelled them.
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: Why in entertaining them.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: What breach of law is that, Sir?
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: Why dishonouring the commonwealth, Mrs. Hutchinson.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: But put the case, Sir, that I do fear the Lord and my parents. May
not I entertain them that fear the Lord because my parents will not give me leave?
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: If they be the fathers of the commonwealth, and they of another
religion, if you entertain them then you dishonour your parents and are justly punishable.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: If I entertain them, as they have dishonoured their parents I do.
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: No but you by countenancing them above others put honor upon them.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: I may put honor upon them as the children of God and as they do
honor the Lord.
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: We do not mean to discourse with those of your sex but only this: you
so adhere unto them and do endeavor to set forward this faction and so you do dishonour us.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: I do acknowledge no such thing. Neither do I think that I ever put
any dishonour upon you.
• • •
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: Your course is not to be suffered for. Besides that we find such a
course as this to be greatly prejudicial to the state. Besides the occasion that it is to seduce many
honest persons that are called to those meetings and your opinions being known to be different from
the word of God may seduce many simple souls that resort unto you. Besides that the occasion which
hath come of late hath come from none but such as have frequented your meetings, so that now they
are flown off from magistrates and ministers and since they have come to you. And besides that it
will not well stand with the commonwealth that families should be neglected for so many neighbors
and dames and so much time spent. We see no rule of God for this. We see not that any should have
authority to set up any other exercises besides what authority hath already set up and so what hurt
comes of this you will be guilty of and we for suffering you.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: Sir, I do not believe that to be so.
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: Well, we see how it is. We must therefore put it away from you or
restrain you from maintaining this course.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: If you have a rule for it from God’s word you may.
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: We are your judges, and not you ours and we must compel you to it.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: If it please you by authority to put it down I will freely let you for I
am subject to your authority. . . .
• • •
DEPUTY GOV. THOMAS DUDLEY: I would go a little higher with Mrs. Hutchinson. About
three years ago we were all in peace. Mrs. Hutchinson, from that time she came hath made a
disturbance, and some that came over with her in the ship did inform me what she was as soon as she
was landed. I being then in place dealt with the pastor and teacher of Boston and desired them to
enquire of her, and then I was satisfied that she held nothing different from us. But within half a year
after, she had vented divers of her strange opinions and had made parties in the country, and at length
it comes that Mr. Cotton and Mr. Vane were of her judgment, but Mr. Cotton had cleared himself
that he was not of that mind.
• • •
But now it appears by this woman’s meeting that Mrs. Hutchinson hath so forestalled the minds of
many by their resort to her meeting that now she hath a potent party in the country. Now if all these
things have endangered us as from that foundation and if she in particular hath disparaged all our
ministers in the land that they have preached a covenant of works, and only Mr. Cotton a covenant of
grace, why this is not to be suffered, and therefore being driven to the foundation and it being found
that Mrs. Hutchinson is she that hath depraved all the ministers and hath been the cause of what is
fallen out, why we must take away the foundation and the building will fall.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: I pray, Sir, prove it that I said they preached nothing but a covenant
of works.
DEP. GOV. THOMAS DUDLEY: Nothing but a covenant of works. Why a Jesuit may preach truth
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: Did I ever say they preached a covenant of works then?
DEP. GOV. THOMAS DUDLEY: If they do not preach a covenant of grace clearly, then they
preach a covenant of works.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: No, Sir. One may preach a covenant of grace more clearly than
another, so I said. . . .
DEP. GOV. THOMAS DUDLEY: When they do preach a covenant of works do they preach truth?
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: Yes, Sir. But when they preach a covenant of works for salvation,
that is not truth.
DEP. GOV. THOMAS DUDLEY: Ask you this: when the ministers do preach a covenant of works
do they preach a way of salvation?
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: I did not come hither to answer questions of that sort.
DEP. GOV. THOMAS DUDLEY: Because you will deny the thing.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: Ey, but that is to be proved first.
DEP. GOV. THOMAS DUDLEY: I will make it plain that you did say that the ministers did preach
a covenant of works.
DEP. GOV. THOMAS DUDLEY: And that you said they were not able ministers of the New
Testament, but Mr. Cotton only.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: If ever I spake that I proved it by God’s word.
• • •
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: If you please to give me leave I shall give round of what I know to
be true. Being much troubled to see the falseness of the constitution of the Church of England, I had
like to have turned Separatist. Whereupon I kept a day of solemn humiliation and pondering of the
thing; this scripture was brought unto me—he that denies Jesus Christ to be come in the flesh is
antichrist. This I considered of and in considering found that the papists did not deny him to be come
in the flesh, nor we did not deny him—who then was antichrist? Was the Turk antichrist only? The
Lord knows that I could not open scripture; he must by his prophetical office open it unto me. So
after that being unsatisfied in the thing, the Lord was pleased to bring this scripture out of the
Hebrews. He that denies the testament denies the testator, and in this did open unto me and give me
to see that those which did not teach the new covenant had the spirit of antichrist, and upon this he
did discover the ministry unto me; and ever since, I bless the Lord, he hath let me see which was the
clear ministry and which the wrong.
Since that time I confess I have been more choice and he hath left me to distinguish between the
voice of my beloved and the voice of Moses, the voice of John the Baptist and the voice of antichrist,
for all those voices are spoken of in scripture. Now if you do condemn me for speaking what in my
conscience I know to be truth I must commit myself unto the Lord.
MR. NOWEL (ASSISTANT TO THE COURT): How do you know that was the spirit?
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: How did Abraham know that it was God that bid him offer his son,
being a breach of the sixth commandment?
DEP. GOV. THOMAS DUDLEY: By an immediate voice.
MRS. ANNE HUTCHINSON: So to me by an immediate revelation.
DEP. GOV. THOMAS DUDLEY: How! an immediate revelation.
• • •
GOV. JOHN WINTHROP: Mrs. Hutchinson, the sentence of the court you hear is that you are
banished from out of our jurisdiction as being a woman not fit for our society, and are to be
imprisoned till the court shall send you away.
1. What seem to be the major charges against Anne Hutchinson?
2. What does the Hutchinson case tell us about how Puritan authorities understood the idea of
religious freedom?
12. Roger Williams, Letter to the Town of
Providence (1655)
Source: Perry Miller and Thomas H. Johnson, eds., The Puritans (2 vols.: New York, 1963), vol.
1, p. 225.
Roger Williams, the son of a London merchant, studied at Cambridge University and emigrated to
New England in 1631. He is considered one of the founders of the principle of religious toleration.
Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony after preaching that the colonists must
not occupy Indian land without first purchasing it, and that the government had no right to punish
individuals for their religious beliefs. He went on to found the community of Providence, Rhode
Island. After traveling to England and returning to Providence in 1654, he found it torn by
dissension, with some settlers refusing to accept civil authority at all. Williams published the
following letter, explaining his view of the extent and limits of liberty. He made it clear that while no
one should be forced to follow any particular religious belief, this did not lessen the requirement that
all members of a community must obey the “masters and officers” in charge of civil matters.
THAT EVER I SHOULD SPEAK or write a tittle, that tends to . . . an infinite liberty of conscience, is a
mistake, and which I have ever disclaimed and abhorred. To prevent such mistakes, I shall at present
only propose this case: There goes many a ship to sea, with many hundred souls in one ship, whose
weal or woe is common, and is a true picture of a commonwealth, or a human combination or
society. It hath fallen out sometimes, that both papists and Protestants, Jews and Turks [Muslims],
may be embarked in one ship; upon which supposal I affirm, that all the liberty of conscience, that
ever I pleaded for, turns upon these two hinges—that none of the papists, Protestants, Jews, or Turks,
be forced to come to the ship’s prayers or worship, nor compelled from their own particular prayers
or worship, if they practice any. I further add, that I never denied, that notwithstanding this liberty,
the commander of this ship ought to command the ship’s course, yea, and also command that justice,
peace and sobriety, be kept and practiced, both among the seamen and all the passengers. If any of
the seamen refuse to perform their services, or passengers to pay their freight; if any refuse to help,
in person or purse, towards the common charges or defense; if any refuse to obey the common laws
and orders of the ship, concerning their common peace or preservation; if any shall mutiny and rise
up against their commanders and officers; if any should preach or write that there ought to be no
commanders or officers, because all are equal in Christ, therefore no masters nor officers, no laws
nor orders, nor corrections nor punishments;—I say, I never denied, but in such cases, whatever is
pretended, the commander or commanders may judge, resist, compel and punish such transgressors,
according to their deserts and merits. This if seriously and honestly minded, may, if it so please the
Father of lights, let in some light to such as willingly shut not their eyes.
1. In what ways does Williams place limits on liberty?
2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of Williams’s analogy between civil society and a
group of people aboard a ship?
13. The Levellers, The Agreement of the
People Presented to the Council of the
Army (1647)
Source: The Agreement of the People Presented to the Council of the Army (London, 1647).
During the 1640s, the battle for political supremacy in England between the Stuart monarchs James I
and Charles I and Parliament culminated in civil war, the temporary overthrow of the monarchy, and,
in 1649, the execution of Charles I. This struggle produced an intense public debate over the concept
of English freedom. In 1647, the Levellers, history’s first democratic political movement, proposed a
written constitution, the Agreement of the People, which began by proclaiming “at how high a rate
we value our just freedom.” At a time when “democracy” was still widely seen as the equivalent of
anarchy and disorder, the document proposed to abolish the monarchy and House of Lords and
greatly expand the right to vote. It called for religious freedom and equality before the law for all
The Levellers were soon suppressed. But the Agreement of the People offered a glimpse of the
modern, democratic definition of freedom as a universal entitlement in a society based on equal
rights, rather than the traditional idea of “liberties” as a collection of limited rights defined by social
class, with some groups enjoying far more than others.
AN AGREEMENT OF the People for a firm and present peace upon grounds of common right.
Having by our late labors and hazards made it appear to the world at how high a rate we value our
just freedom, and God having so far owned our cause as to deliver the enemies thereof into our
hands, we do now hold ourselves bound in mutual duty to each other to take the best care we can for
the future to avoid both the danger of returning into a slavish condition and the chargeable remedy of
another war; for, as it cannot be imagined that so many of our countrymen would have opposed us in
this quarrel if they had understood their own good, so may we safely promise to ourselves that, when
our common rights and liberties shall be cleared, their endeavors will be disappointed that seek to
make themselves our masters. Since, therefore, our former oppressions and scarce-yet-ended troubles
have been occasioned, either by want of frequent national meetings in Council, or by rendering those
meetings ineffectual, we are fully agreed and resolved to provide that hereafter our representatives be
neither left to an uncertainty for the time nor made useless to the ends for which they are intended. In
order whereunto we declare:
That the people of England, being at this day very unequally distributed by Counties, Cities and
Boroughs for the election of their deputies in Parliament, ought to be more indifferently
proportioned, according to the number of the inhabitants; the circumstances whereof for number,
place, and manner are to be set down before the end of this present Parliament.
That, to prevent the many inconveniences apparently arising from the long continuance of the same
persons in authority, this present Parliament be dissolved upon the last day of September which shall
be in the year of our Lord 1648.
That the people do, of course, choose themselves a Parliament once in two years, viz. upon the first
Thursday in every second March, after the manner as shall be prescribed before the end of this
Parliament, to begin to sit upon the first Thursday in April following, at Westminster or such other
place as shall be appointed from time to time by the preceding Representatives, and to continue till
the last day of September then next ensuing, and no longer.
That the power of this, and all future Representatives of this Nation, is inferior only to theirs who
choose them, and doth extend, without the consent or concurrence of any other person or persons, to
the enacting, altering, and repealing of laws; to the erecting and abolishing of offices and courts; to
the appointing, removing, and calling to account magistrates and officers of all degrees; to the
making war and peace; to the treating with foreign states; and, generally, to whatsoever is not
expressly or impliedly reserved by the represented to themselves:
Which are as followeth,
1. That matters of religion and the ways of God’s worship are not at all entrusted by us to any
human power, because therein we cannot remit or exceed a title of what our consciences
dictate to be the mind of God, without wilful sin; nevertheless the public way of instructing the
nation (so it be not compulsive) is referred to their discretion.
2. That the matter of impressing and constraining any of us to serve in the wars is against our
freedom; and therefore we do not allow it in our Representatives; the rather, because money
(the sinews of war), being always at their disposal, they can never want numbers of men apt
enough to engage in any just cause.
3. That after the dissolution of this present Parliament, no person be at any time questioned for
anything said or done in reference to the late public differences, otherwise than in execution of
the judgments of the present Representatives, or House of Commons.
4. That in all laws made or to be made every person may be bound alike, and that no tenure,
estate, charter, degree, birth, or place do confer any exemption from the ordinary course of
legal proceedings whereunto others are subjected.
5. That as the laws ought to be equal, so they must be good, and not evidently destructive to the
safety and well-being of the people.
These things we declare to be our native rights, and therefore are agreed and resolved to maintain
them with our utmost possibilities against all opposition whatsoever; being compelled thereunto not
only by the examples of our ancestors, whose blood was often spent in vain for the recovery of their
freedoms, suffering themselves through fraudulent accommodations to be still deluded of the fruit of
their victories, but also by our own woeful experience, who, having long expected and dearly earned
the establishment of these certain rules of government,…

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Voices of Freedom

New York Workingmen Demand a Voice in the Revolutionary Struggle

New York Sons of Liberty

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