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English Empire in America

            The Puritans in the seventeenth century saw that America would be a chance for them to make a new start. They believed that America would provide them with freedom and the ability to practice their own religious beliefs. It is with this sense that they emigrated from England and establish themselves in the new colonies in what would become Massachusetts. The society that they established was different from that of England. They wanted to avoid the worst parts of English society. Therefore they did not want a society dominated by wealthy landowners and a government that levied unfair taxes. Instead, they designed a self-governing form that was comprised mainly of property-owners. They thought that property ownership was important and this provided the foundation of their governmental system. While the system had some inequities, the populous benefited from land ownership and society was comprised mainly of yeomen farmers. All the men in the community had a say in the town meetings at which local affairs were decided. Town meetings accomplished many things among these were enacting ordinances about fencing, lot size, and grazing issues, but the most important activity was the levying of taxes and collecting of those taxes. Slowly these town communities came together to form a larger governmental unit for the colony on the whole.
             The relationship between the Puritans and the native people was conflicting. Although they initially thought that they did not have a legitimate right to take land from the native people, this idea changed over time. As they drew confidence from their “divine association with God” they took greater advantage of the situation. Eventually, they treated the native peoples with the same disregard as the Spanish and Francis Bacon had before them. Part of what they viewed as the legitimacy of this position was they considered the native people inferior and savages and they did not deserve the proper treatment of cultured people.