A new story from The Political History of the United States
Kids to read and then some years later free public education was added to the code. This follows with the import does that period in societies place. I'm being able to personally read the Bible Years in the future. That high literacy rate is going to mean that these citizens of Massachusetts are able to read the political go pamphlets that are being circulated servants within the colony were also given basic protections against abusive behavior. Likewise there was a section saying that indentured ventured servants shelby given some kind of granted property should they successfully complete their period of indenture. It is interesting to look at the rights granted by the body of celebrities. We see so many of the things that would later appear in the United States. Bill of rights appear for the first time in this document concepts such as protection against cruel and unusual behavior due process jury. Trials prohibitions against uncompensated. Takings all are going to make their appearance. These are things that are going to eventually find themselves themselves front and center in those rights that the founders wanted to preserve in a federal constitution well in so many ways the body of liberties can seem like such a progressive document. humint there are other places where it feels radically different. None more so than just how closely religion is tied to the government at the end of the body of liberties. There is a long section Selena. The various reasons that you can use capital punishment and each one of their biblical justifications. So because you asked what offenses can you receive the death penalty before well. You can be put to death for worshiping any God other than the Christian. God being a witch which you know that's going to become very important in the sixteen ninety s blasphemy premeditated murder committee murder as a crime of passion committing murder with the use of poison bestiality for both the person and the animal in vault doc homosexuality stealing a slave giving false witness that results in the death of another or if anybody conspires to or actually does commit treason season against the colony. I mentioned this because I think it really gets to the point better than me just saying it how incredibly steeped in religion the Bay colony was in sixteen sixteen forty one by any modern standard and frankly by the standards one hundred fifty years later. This is a harsh form of government. That absolutely nobody would mistake. Gordon Lighting System of government despite that however it is at the same time unfair to completely dismiss the significance of the Massachusetts body of liberties portions of the legal code are going to survive the test of time until their inclusion in the bill of rights for those laws you can see the long legal history in America of these rights prior to the bill of writes. This helps explain why these rights were by the time. Seventeen ninety one rolls around seen as being so fundamental to the freedoms granted in the United States throughout throughout the remainder of the sixteen forty S. There will continue to be new. Laws added modifications made in other minor changes added to the body liberties the story of Politics Massachusetts throughout throughout the sixteen forty s was moving the colonies. You something that more resembled a stable system of government by codifying the law. It at least in theory meant that there would be. They're an equitable administration of the loss. Throughout the colony it also served as a check on the threat of arbitrary government that the colonists were so deeply concerned with the fear of arbitrary government would in fact never be completely mollified. It is a beast that will continue to rise up every so often until it literally leads to war in seventeen seventy five however the body of liberties for the moment creates a more predictable government. which was intern less likely to drift towards tyranny meanwhile throughout the decade through will be increasing efforts to decentralize the government of the Bay colony is sixteen forty to the general court would separate into a bicameral institution with an upper and lower house under the new structure? The lower house would be voted on by the freemen of the colony. They would then proceed to the upper house of assistance. The lower house would meet less regularly whereas the upper house of the assistance would remain in permanent session to assist the governor. If you're wondering what what the English back in London thought of all this. The answer is that they probably didn't think about it much at all for the Communists in Massachusetts and indie throat. New England. Fortuitous timing help with them basically build their own government without much interference from the mother country by the time. The body of liberties was passed parliament. Anqing Charles the first or getting ready to kick off off the first English civil war. Nobody was terribly concerned with what a bunch of minor colonies off in the middle of nowhere. We're doing when there was such pressing problems at home. I want to wrap up today by taking a very quick peek in at Plymouth and seeing what is going on there politically when we last left off Plymouth was a colony that was completely dominated donated by the personality. William Bradford Bradford. If you'll recall is to plymouth what John winthrop is to Massachusetts Great. Those first decades in Plymouth it is is virtually impossible to separate plymouth. Politics from Bradford Bradford's control over the colony was still in place throughout the sixteenth thirties and forties so in this regard he is still the giant on on the ground as a quick reminder plymouth was formed it was done so without a proper charter instead. The settlers on the mayflower drafted the mayflower compact and have been operating with that as the foundation of their government and as the proof of legitimacy however with the Massachusetts Bay colony. Now entering into the equation. Plymouth decided that it may well. It'll be time to make things a little bit more official. The Plymouth colonists approached the council for New England in search of a more proper land. Grant the Council for New England was in English company. That did go ahead and make that grant in sixteen thirty. This shouldn't be seen as something akin to actual charter. However but rather was is a more official acknowledgement that the colony did in fact have a right to exist? It did further establish borders for the Plymouth Colony. which would help to prevent future at your border? Disputes Between Plymouth and Massachusetts eight more proper constitution and legal system was implemented in sixteen thirty six as opposed to the previously used mayflower compact compact what emerges from this new constitution legal code is a system of government that looks a whole lot like this system in place over Massachusetts. The new government provided for governor as well as a court to be made up of seven assistance like in Massachusetts the freemen of the colony had the right to vote for the assistance and the governor also like in Massachusetts. She sits in order to having those. Those Freeman were required to be member of the church. Logistics would eventually prove that Plymouth like Massachusetts had to adopt a more representative tentative system as the Plymouth colony grill more and more towns sprung up further and further away from the original settlement. Just like what occurred. In the bay colony this necessitated that each of these east Halston two representatives to attend the General Court meetings. This helped ensure that the surrounding towns had some form of representation when the distance between the towns and the original settlement grew you too large to make attending the general court widely accessible through the use of representatives it was much easier to ensure the towns on the edges of the colony received a fair voicing. Government don't Plymouth would have contact involvement with the other con- around New England as we have already seen they were a participant in the war. Though they didn't really do much in the way of any actual fighting hiding we will see in a future episode that they would also become a member of the New England Confederation in Sixteen Forty Three Plymouth. Well not totally isolated or anything like that was happy enough. Not being the center of the New England world. If John winthrop was interested in trading Massachusetts into some kind of shining beacon appeared in ways that pilgrims and Plymouth. I just wanted to be left alone to do their own thing. For the most part at least up until King Philip's war which we will discuss next season they got their wish. William Bradford himself is going to continue to dominate their political system. Right up until his death in sixteen fifty seven as a flannel postscript on the situation regarding the legitimacy of Plymouth I want to make a few points which which may seem minor right now but will be big deal in the future. The language that Plymouth receives is absolutely not a charter. In Fact Plymouth is never going to get an official royal charter charter from King. This is in contrast to the other New England colonies who by sixteen eighty six had charters directly from England when we reached the dominion of New England. At the end of the next season. This is going to be an important distinction that will separate Plymouth from the other. New England colonies. The consequences of not having an official royal charter will ultimately approve catastrophic for the Plymouth Colony. Whoever that is all a story for next season okay? I think that she give you all a much better idea of what's been going on in Plymouth since the last time we saw them. Well the far more impactful events were happening over in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. These settlers down Plymouth would just keep doing their thing with as little intrusion Truyen as possible next time we are going to keep working through the political developments of these sixteen thirties and forties. Much like this week's episode that is going to see us spend most of our time in a single place team the Connecticut where we are going to examine the importance of the fundamental order of Connecticut. We will also take a brief amount amount of time to jump on over to Rhode Island and see what all of our favorite outcasts are up to so with that I will see you back here.