American History / Massachusetts Bay Colony

Massachusetts Bay Colony

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Autor:  anton  02 March 2011
Tags:  Massachusetts,  Colony
Words: 690   |   Pages: 3
Views: 794

The government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was simultaneously theocratic, democratic, oligarchic, and authoritarian in different ways. The Puritans founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1628 and wanted a well-established government, but they ended up mixing all of these together. This colony was important because it was one of the first provincial and true governments to be introduced into the colonies. It also provided an example to other colonies to base their governments on.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony can be said to have been partly theocratic based on a couple of reasons. For example, the Puritans believed that they had a covenant with God to build a society that would be a model for humankind. This shows partly theocracy because everyone believed in and worshipped a God to help them build a society. Another example is that the colonies franchise was extended to all adult males who were a part of the Puritans congregation. This caused all non-domination or churchless people unable to vote. This also shows the theocratic idea behind this government and how the church and God influenced the decisions of the colony and provided a background to establish their government on.

The Bay Colony was also based on a partly democratic government. The government was partly democratic because the people of the colony elected a governor and his assistants annually. This wasn’t a true democracy because only the men that were true members of the church were eligible, which in turn goes back to the theocratic idea of the government. The government was also partly democratic because it treated everyone the same when dealing with laws and taxes. Basically no matter who you were the laws still applied to you and so did the taxes.

The colony was partly oligarchic in a few ways also. The oligarchic part of the government was from the governor and his assistants. Although they were elected into office, the colony was just a colony and not a state or part of a country yet, so therefore the governor was the highest government official. This makes the colony somewhat of an oligarchy because there was only one person telling everyone what to do and how to do it. This control from a small group of people may have been what the people thought was the right thing to do at the time, but it was somewhat why they had come to the “New World” in the first place was to get rid of a single person ruling everyone.

Last but not least the government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was partly authoritarian for many reasons. The colony favored a strict set of rules and taxes and stuck to them. This shows the authoritarian government. The Governor set the taxes and laws based on the will of the church and what was the “right thing to do.” They even had strict rules about kissing in public, and various other “inappropriate things” considered to be wrong by the church. Some states were nicknamed after the color of the paper that the laws were printed on. The irony of this is that the people wanted to live an easier life with more freedom from the government and religion, but then proceeded to promote and carry out repressive laws such as kissing in public.

As you can see the Massachusetts Bay Colony was very diverse in its form of government and how the colony was run. Some people say it consists of a mix of all of these forms of governments (theocracy, democracy, oligarchy, and authoritarian) when in fact the government was one of a kind and very influential to other colonies. It helped other colonies because it helped them decided to take bits and pieces of this unique form of government. All in the entire colony was mainly based on the theocracy part of the government. Even though there was a mixture of different governments present they all traced back to the church and the leaders of the church determining what was correct and not appropriate in the colony. So even though all of these forms of government are present the theocratic part was the main influencing factor.

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