E/MS Unit I

Activity 1: Examining the Puritans’ Goals in Relation to Native Peoples

Explain to students that we do not know exactly when John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, gave the famous speech, “A Model of Christian Charity,” to the men and women who sailed with him on the Arabella. Most likely it was on board the ship. Share information from the Mass Moments essay and then read aloud the excerpts from Winthrop's speech, stopping from time to time to discuss what Winthrop was saying.

  1. What goals did the Puritans have in coming to North America?
  2. According to Winthrop, how were they to behave?
  3. What would be the rewards if the Puritans kept God’s commandments? What would be the consequences if they did not?

Show students the original Massachusetts Bay Colony seal and explain that when King Charles I granted the colonists a charter in 1629, he gave them the authority to use a seal. This seal was used until 1686, shortly after the first charter was revoked, and again from 1689-1692. Read the words that form the outer edge of the seal: sigillum : gvb : et : societ : de : Mattachvsets : bay : in : Nova : Anglia.

What language is this? [Latin]. Ask the students to try to figure out what it says. [“Seal Government and Society of Massachusetts Bay in New England”]

  1. Who is pictured in the center of the seal? What general impressions do students get looking at the image?
  2. What is the Native American “saying” on the seal? [“Come Over and Help Us.”]
  3. What does that tell us about how English Puritans viewed the native people and their responsibilities toward them?

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