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By Philip Jenkins (auth.)
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Extra resources for A History of the United States
Finding themselves beyond the authority of Virginia, the colonists devised for themselves a 'Compact' of self-government, and thus began the colony that settled at Plymouth shortly afterwards. The group established friendly relations with the Wampanoag Indians, who generously taught them about the food of the new land. The miracle of their survival was celebrated in the first Thanksgiving in 1621, but the colony remained small, with barely 300 people by 1630. Plymouth was soon overshadowed by its neighbour at Massachusetts Bay, which received its charter in 1629.
In 1682 Penn's 'Great Law' for the new colony offered tolerance to 'all persons who confess and acknowledge the one almighty and eternal God to be the creator, upholder and 20 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES ruler of the world', with the proviso of orderly behaviour. In its first decades the colony sought to institutionalize Quaker principles in a law code that minimized the death penalty and made creative use of jails and workhouses, but the period of experimentation ended with the adoption of the English criminal code in 1718.
The first doctrinal crises erupted in the mid 1630s with the liberal views of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson. Williams held extreme views on religious toleration and the state's role in enforcing religious conformity: for him, 'forced worship stinks in God's nostrils'. He was accused of wishing to extend tolerance to pagans, Jews and Turks, and assuredly to all Christian believers. For incorrect ideas, he recommended the approach, 'Fight only with words not swords'. His eccentricity extended even to the notion that lands should never be acquired from the Indians without proper payment.
A History of the United States by Philip Jenkins (auth.)