Dominion of New England

Dominion of New England


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James II became apprehensive about the New England colonies' increasingly independent ways; he and other British officials were particularly upset by the open flouting of the Navigation Acts. In 1686, all of New England was joined in an administrative merger, the Dominion of New England; two years later, New York and both New Jerseys were added.This agency's creation was regarded in Britain as a thoughtful move and not a punitive measure. The colonists had earlier participated in the New England Confederation.Joseph Dudley served briefly as the first president of the Dominion, but was replaced by Sir Edmund Andros. He followed his orders assiduously by terminating local assemblies, taxing the colonists without the consent of their representatives, and vigorously attempting to end smuggling through strict enforcement of the Navigation Acts.Massachusetts was not the only colony in which the Dominion caused a furor. In 1687, Andros was so angered by Connecticut's failure to cooperate with the new regime that he and armed retainers tried to take physical possession of the colony’s charter. According to legend, the Connecticut colonists hid the document within a crevice of an old oak tree.*The Dominion experienced little success, due largely to colonial intransigence. The Dominion came to an abrupt halt in 1689, when word arrived in the colonies about the removal of James II from the throne in the Glorious Revolution.The failure of the Dominion of New England temporarily changed many British officials' attitudes toward the American colonies. That beneficial disregard did much to foster the growth of self-government in America.The colonists would again take up the issue of unified action at the First Continental Congress (1774) — but that integration was an American decision, not one imposed by the mother country.


*The "Charter Oak" stood on the Wyllys estate in Hartford until it was felled by a windstorm in 1856.


4.7: New England in the Late Seventeenth Century- Declension, Witchcraft, and the Dominion of New England

  • Catherine Locks, Sarah Mergel, Pamela Roseman, Tamara Spike & Marie Lasseter
  • Faculty at George State Universities
  • Sourced from GALILEO Open Learning Materials

By 1660, New England had grown in population and wealth. Despite this fact, or perhaps because of it, many among the Puritan leadership lamented that their mission was in danger of failing this falling away from their original purpose is known as &ldquodeclension.&rdquo There were several indicators that declension had indeed set in. The most obvious sign was that the children and grandchildren of the first generation appeared to be losing the piety characteristic of their elders, and, as a consequence, the proportion of church members to non-members was declining alarmingly. Puritan ministers pointed out that should this trend continue it would affect not just the current church population but also that to come, as only children of full church members could be baptized. Those who were not baptized could not become church members themselves. In 1662, in a desperate move to avoid this eventuality, Massachusetts clergy adopted the Half-Way Covenant. According to this doctrine, children of partial members could be baptized and thus would be eligible for full church membership upon a conversion experience. The more orthodox Puritans denigrated this approach, and many left the Congregational Churches to join what they saw as the more strictly separatist sect, the Baptists. Fears of declension and the adoption of the Half-Way Covenant were only the beginning of troubles for the New England colonies, however. More serious problems came just before and after the Glorious Revolution of 1688.


But Why a Dominion?

One: King Philip Started a War

According to King James II, the Dominion of New England was established to protect colonists from Native attacks. The relationship between the colonists and the Native Americans began amicably, as New England relied upon Native Americans for their survival. However, as the colonists continued to spread inland, a conflict was inevitable. In 1675, a Wampanoag Indian called King Philip by the English, led a coalition, and attacked villages in New England. King Philip’s group attacked 52 Puritan towns over the course of one year, killing 600 colonists and 3,000 Native Americans. The attacks became known as King Philip’s War and solidified England’s worries about securing the New England colonies from further Indian conflicts. King Philip’s War justified England’s plan to station more British troops in the colonies for protection.

King Philip’s War solidified England’s worries about securing the New England colonies from further Indian conflicts.

Two: Mercantilism, Mercantilism, Mercantilism

The Dominion of New England was to enforce the Navigation Acts that were initially passed in 1651.

Another reason the Dominion of New England was to enforce the Navigation Acts that were initially passed in 1651. The Navigation Acts controlled colonial trade with England and included a list of enumerated goods that colonists were not allowed to manufacture. More Navigation Acts followed in 1660 to 1673 that further restricted colonial trade so that all goods from the colonies had to be shipped only to England or other English colonies. Colonists were not allowed to sell their goods directly to other nations, nor could they buy products directly from other countries without being sent to England first. All of these Acts were designed to raise revenue for England and to benefit English businessmen. Enforcing the Navigation Acts was resisted by colonists who had already established trade relationships with Spanish and Dutch merchants. As a result, many colonists resorted to smuggling, creating a black market of goods that was largely overlooked until the end of the French and Indian War. A new court was established in Boston to enforce the Navigation Acts. Some colonists rebelled by refusing to pay taxes and were fined and jailed. With one megacolony centered in Boston, the English hoped to reduce smuggling and control all colonial trade.

Enforcing the Navigation Acts was resisted by colonists who had already established trade relationships with Spanish and Dutch merchants.

Three: Power, Power, Power

Probably the most significant reason that King James formed the Dominion of New England was to establish more direct control over the New England colonies. Even before the reign of King James, the British wanted dominance over the colonies. The British enacted many unsuccessful attempts to exercise more control of the colonies, but each attempt was met with such resistance that Britain repealed whatever measure they enacted.

Britain’s goal with the Dominion of New England was to conglomerate all the governance of the colonies under one governor

Britain’s goal with the Dominion of New England was to conglomerate all the governance of the colonies under one governor, a governor that would be able to properly enforce British laws. Before the Dominion was created, New England colonies were ruled under individual charters that allowed for self-government. The colonists greatly resented the loss of their individual territories and self-rule to one megacolony like the Dominion of New England.


The Dominion of New England

The Dominion of New England was a short-lived administrative union of English colonies in the New England region of North America. It comprised the five New England colonies, plus the Province of New York, East Jersey, and West Jersey. The union was decreed in 1686 by King James II as a measure to enforce the Navigation Acts and to coordinate the mutual defense of colonies against the French and hostile Native Americans. In 1688, the colonies of New York and New Jersey were added to the dominion.

Although the New England colonists had previously sought a loose voluntary association in the New England Confederation, the imposition of a centralized authority from England was highly unpopular. The actions of dominion governor Edmund Andros in promoting the Church of England, as well as the behaviors of English soldiers garrisoned at Boston, greatly angered many loyalists in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Following the overthrow of James II in the Glorious Revolution in 1688, the Dominion ceased to exist.

The word dominion would later be used to describe the Dominion of Canada, and other self-governing British colonies.

[edit] Presidents of the Dominion of New England

This is a list of Presidents of the Dominion of New England from 1686 to 1689:
President Year(s)
Joseph Dudley 1686
Edmund Andros 1686 – 1689

When the Dominion was dissolved in 1689, Simon Bradstreet served as Governor of Massachusetts until William Phips arrived as Royal Governor in 1692.

Nicole

Rattenfänger von Memphis

If the question is whether an earlier American Revolution could have been successful circa 1688-1700, I tend to doubt it just based on the population figures alone.

In 1775, England had roughly 6.5 million people versus roughly 2.5 million Americans, and that population contained many loyalists, perhaps as many as a 1/3 of the population with possibly another 1/3 neutral.

Even with the significant aid of France, Spain and the Netherlands, the Americans still had a tough time winning their independence from England by 1781. It seems this achievement would have been much difficult in the 1688-1700 period.

England, in 1700, had about 5 million people. London alone had 500,000 to 600,000 inhabitants in 1700.

Various "Googled" figures (as all of these population statistics are) show the American population as being roughly 250,000 in 1682 to about 275,000 in 1700. Plus they lived in a very threatening world, compared to 1775, with the ever-present danger of Indian attacks --- King Philip's War had been devastasting to New England and was well within living memory (1675 to 1676).

Add to this that the French were a constant threat, disputing with the English for control over North America, unlike 1775 when there was no nearby danger to the colonists from any other European power.

In addition to all these factors, if the same divisions (1/3 loyal, 1/3 neutral etc. ) also existed among the 1688-1700 colonists as existed among the 1775 colonists, the 250,000 to 275,000 colonists could have been easily re-conquered by an England that outnumbered them 20 to 1 rather than the much more significant 3 to 1 ratio in 1775.

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If the question is whether an earlier American Revolution could have been successful circa 1688-1700, I tend to doubt it just based on the population figures alone.

In 1775, England had roughly 6.5 million people versus roughly 2.5 million Americans, and that population contained many loyalists, perhaps as many as a 1/3 of the population with possibly another 1/3 neutral.

Even with the significant aid of France, Spain and the Netherlands, the Americans still had a tough time winning their independence from England by 1781. It seems this achievement would have been much difficult in the 1688-1700 period.

England, in 1700, had about 5 million people. London alone had 500,000 to 600,000 inhabitants in 1700.

Various "Googled" figures (as all of these population statistics are) show the American population as being roughly 250,000 in 1682 to about 275,000 in 1700. Plus they lived in a very threatening world, compared to 1775, with the ever-present danger of Indian attacks --- King Philip's War had been devastasting to New England and was well within living memory (1675 to 1676).

Add to this that the French were a constant threat, disputing with the English for control over North America, unlike 1775 when there was no nearby danger to the colonists from any other European power.

In addition to all these factors, if the same divisions (1/3 loyal, 1/3 neutral etc. ) also existed among the 1688-1700 colonists as existed among the 1775 colonists, the 250,000 to 275,000 colonists could have been easily re-conquered by an England that outnumbered them 20 to 1 rather than the much more significant 3 to 1 ratio in 1775.


King Philip’s War:

In 1675, King Philip’s War broke out which resulted in an immediate need for military support throughout southern New England.

The war was fought between Wampanoag Indians and the English colonists in New England, according to the book International Encyclopedia of Military History:

“The war for dominance of New England was the product of a half-century of tensions. After the Pilgrims established Plymouth in 1620, the Wampanoags signed several treaties ceding territory to the settlers. In 1662, the new Wampanoag leader, Metacomet (called Philip by the English) realized the Indians had gone so far in accommodating the English that the survival of Indian culture and traditions was in danger….The Wampanoags gained support from the Nipmunks, Narragansetts,and smaller tribes. The combined Indian forces led attacks on six white settlements…”

The confederation voted in favor of providing military assistance for the war and officially declared war on the Native-Americans on September 9, 1675. By December of 1675, the Confederation raised an army of over 1,000 armed men.

The war lasted fourteen months, officially coming to an end in August of 1676, and is considered one of the bloodiest colonial Indian wars. Between 600 to 800 colonists and 3,000 Indians were killed.

Half of the English towns in New England were damaged and about 12 were destroyed. Most of the surviving Indians were either sold into slavery or forced to leave New England.


Vile Person

Early on the morning of April 18, 1689, the inhabitants of Boston took up arms. Militias from neighboring towns streamed into the city. They first arrested the captain of the British frigate The Rose, moored in Boston Harbor. Two thousand Massachusetts militia then marched against Andros’ garrison of a dozen or so redcoats. Andros had no choice but to surrender.

We have been quiet, hitherto, but now the Lord has prospered the undertaking of the prince of Orange, we think we should follow such an example. We therefore, seized the vile persons who oppressed us.

Andros and his agents spent nearly a year in prison, then shipped back to England.

The colonists revived their old charter, and elected Simon Bradstreet governor, the position he held before King Charles revoked the charter. They pledged their loyalty to the new British king, who supported their rebellion.

Peace would reign between the colony and the Crown, at least for a little while.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992.

Bonomi, Patricia U. The Lord Cornbury Scandal: The Politics of Reputation in British America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

Lockridge, Kenneth A. Settlement and Unsettlement in Early America: The Crisis of Political Legitimacy before the Revolution. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

Lovejoy, David S. The Glorious Revolution in America. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1987.

Morgan, Edmund S. Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America. New York: Norton, 1988.


The Mercantalist System

Mercantilism regarded government control of foreign trade as crucial for ensuring the prosperity and military security of the nation.

Learning Objectives

Summarize the central commitments of mercantilist economic doctrine

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • According to the economic doctrine of mercantilism, the primary purpose of a colony was to produce exports for the benefit of the home country.
  • The ultimate goal of mercantilism was to run trade surpluses and thereby increase profit toward this end, the British government used its power to create monopolies and protect merchants.
  • Mercantilism allowed the government to collect taxes and duties on all goods tariffs were placed on imports and bounties given for exports.
  • The Navigation Acts were a series of laws passed in the 17th and 18th centuries that required all colonial imports and exports to travel via England and only on English registered ships.
  • Many colonists resented the Navigation Acts because they reduced their opportunities for profit, while England profited from colonial work this tension would eventually contribute to the American Revolution.

Key Terms

  • tariff: A system of government-imposed taxes levied on imported or exported goods.
  • Navigation Acts: A series of laws that restricted the use of foreign shipping for trade between England (after 1707, Great Britain) and its colonies, a process which had started in 1651.
  • bounty: A reward for some specific act, especially one given by a government or authority.

Overview

Mercantilism was an economic doctrine which held that a nation’s power depended on the value of its exports, and so the government must control all foreign trade. Under mercantilism, nations sought to establish colonies to produce goods for export as a chief means of acquiring economic strength and power. Essentially, mercantilists believed that colonies existed not for the benefit of settlers, but for the benefit of the home country.

For Britain, the goal of mercantilism was to run trade surpluses to increase the flow of gold and silver pouring into London. The government took its share through duties and taxes with the remainder going to merchants in Britain. The government spent much of its revenue on the Royal Navy, which not only protected the British colonies but threatened and sometimes seized the colonies of other European empires in the Americas.

The Battle of Terheide, 10 August 1653, by Willem van de Velde, 1657: This image illustrates a battle fought at sea during the Anglo-Dutch Wars. Control of trade routes was a primary factor leading up to the war, and England’s mercantilist policies were a major factor that shaped this desire to control trade routes.


Section Summary

The threat of a Catholic absolute monarchy prompted not only the overthrow of James II but also the adoption of laws and policies that changed English government. The Glorious Revolution restored a Protestant monarchy and at the same time limited its power by means of the 1689 Bill of Rights. Those who lived through the events preserved the memory of the Glorious Revolution and the defense of liberty that it represented. Meanwhile, thinkers such as John Locke provided new models and inspirations for the evolving concept of government.

Review Question

Answer to Review Question

  1. James II was overthrown, and William III and Mary II took his place. The 1689 Bill of Rights limited the future power of the monarchy and outlined the rights of Parliament and Englishmen. In Massachusetts, Bostonians overthrew royal governor Edmund Andros.

Glossary

Dominion of New England James II’s consolidated New England colony, made up of all the colonies from New Haven to Massachusetts and later New York and New Jersey

Glorious Revolution the overthrow of James II in 1688

nonconformists Protestants who did not conform to the doctrines or practices of the Church of England


Watch the video: The Dominion of New England


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