Sources of Freedom Exercises

This chapter concentrates on the early history of the Chesapeake and New England colonies, between 1607 and 1650. The chapter begins by exploring who was emigrating to North America and for what reasons. Land is discussed as a basis of liberty and the colonists’ attitudes towards Indian land is examined in depth. Indentured servitude verses slave labor is a theme repeated throughout the chapter.

The chapter examines settlement of the Chesapeake region, identifying tobacco as the area’s "gold," and how that labor intensive crop intensified the desirability of slave labor. Lines between slavery and freedom are discussed, explaining that that line was ambiguous in the 17th century and that race and racism were new concepts to the late 17th century.

Religion and freedom are common themes, relevant to the establishment of Maryland, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The Puritan distinction between moral liberty and religious freedom plays a significant role in the banishment of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson from the Massachusetts colony. Puritanism and liberty are highlighted in Voices of Freedom, with an excerpt from a speech given by John Winthrop. The chapter examines Puritan society and compares it with the Chesapeake colonies. Gender roles are explored in each section.

The chapter concludes with a look at the New England economy, noting the irony in that the growth of the economy was in part due to the work ethic of the Puritans, but that that economic growth was at the same time weakening their power and influence.

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