Massachusetts Bay Colony

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How was the colony of Pennsylvania different from the colony of Massachusetts? 

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Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, who was a Quaker, and its culture was informed by Quaker beliefs in the equality of all people. Therefore, the government pursued peace with the native people and was opposed to conducting warfare. As a result, many people in the colony were opposed to...

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Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, who was a Quaker, and its culture was informed by Quaker beliefs in the equality of all people. Therefore, the government pursued peace with the native people and was opposed to conducting warfare. As a result, many people in the colony were opposed to the American Revolution. The colony recruited people from Germany to settle as farmers, and the land was ripe for growing grain.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony, on the other hand, was founded by Puritans and was composed mostly of people from England. Those who settled in Boston were not separatists, meaning that they did not want to separate themselves from the Anglican Church but instead to reform it from within. The colony was run as a theocracy, and, at first, only members of the Puritan church could vote.

Massachusetts was made up of tightly knit communities in which families exercised a great deal of control over their children. Education was of prime importance to the Puritans, as they emphasized reading the Bible, and schools were founded very early in the life of the colony, as was Harvard College—founded in 1636. The land in this region was poor and rocky, and it was difficult to grow crops, so people in Massachusetts turned to shipbuilding, fishing, and other pursuits.

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Pennsylvania was founded by a prominent Quaker, William Penn. He had felt keenly the religious persecution the Quakers had experienced in Great Britain, especially after the restoration of the monarchy. Quakers were jailed, beaten, lost their property, and sometimes died for their religious beliefs. Penn, therefore, very much wanted to found a colony that would be an experiment in religious freedom and toleration. In the spirit of this, he welcomed settlers of other denominations and faiths. He allowed the persecuted Anabaptists, for example, to settle in the colony.

Massachusetts, on the other hand, was founded by persecuted English religious groups who came to the New World specifically to practice their own brand of faith in a pure way, unmolested by other groups. They wanted to maintain their English and Protestant identity in their own way, and they simply weren't interested in religious toleration and freedom. They believed their way was God's true way. It can be easy to judge the Puritans harshly, as we are a country that has gone in the direction of Penn's religious toleration, but the Puritans were upfront about who they were and what their goals were.

These differing goals influenced how the governments of the two colonies were structured. Pennsylvania was less autocratic and attempted to offer more people a voice in decision making, whereas Massachusetts was more theocratic and top down in structure. When the U.S. was established, it adopted a governmental model closer to Pennsylvania's but the tension between civic/religious tolerance and groups that feel that such tolerance threatens or dilutes the purity of their own beliefs has been on-going in American history.

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Massachusetts was settled as a place for the Puritans to have religious freedom.  Once established, they were intolerant of other doctrines and insisted on everyone there following the established doctrine.  Since the soil was thin and the growing season relatively short, the colony was known for exporting lumber, fish, and ships back to Britain, though there were many family farms.  

Pennsylvania was mainly settled by the English, but its reputation for religious tolerance also brought people from other countries, most notably, Germany.  These people maintained their own language upon arrival, and Pennsylvania had a large German population on the eve of the Revolution.  The colony produced grain and other foodstuffs for export back to Britain.  Pennsylvania had a longer growing season, and the colonists here were, as a rule, generally healthier than those in New England or the Southern colonies. They did not have to face extreme cold or tropical diseases.  

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There were differences between the colonies of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. One difference was in the economic activities of these colonies. In Massachusetts, there was a great deal of manufacturing. Due to the rocky soil, subsistence farming was the kind of farming done in Massachusetts. Shipping, manufacturing, and fishing were the main economic activities. In Pennsylvania, the soil was more fertile. Farmers grew grain and sold it throughout the colonies. Unlike Massachusetts, Pennsylvania had a cash crop, which was grain. Some manufacturing was also done in Pennsylvania.

Another difference was in the area of religion. In Pennsylvania, there was a great deal of religious tolerance and religious freedom. People of many different backgrounds and religions settled in Pennsylvania. In Massachusetts, the Puritan religion was the main religion. There was no religious tolerance or religious freedom in Massachusetts.

Pennsylvania and Massachusetts were different kinds of colonies. Pennsylvania was run by William Penn and was a proprietary colony. Massachusetts was a royal colony and was run by the King.

There were differences between the colonies of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

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