In the decade that followed between 16000 and 20000

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to immigrate to the New World at one time. In the decade that followed, between 16,000 and 20,000 settlers came to the New England region due to turmoil in Britain, a movement that came to be called “The Great Migration.” The Massachusetts colonists did not face nearly as many hardships as the Jamestown and Plymouth settlers before them did. The colonists had taken careful steps to prepare for their venture, and they also received a constant flow of new settlers, which helped replenish supplies and helped the colony grow. Many of the immigrants were well educated and their skills helped the Bay Company succeed in various industries. Since the soil in the northeast was not favorable to farming, the Bay Company made the most of the forests and water resources by establishing mills for grain and lumber, developing the fishing industry, using the local timber for shipbuilding, and using the harbors to promote trade. The Bay Colony quickly became the largest and most influential of all of the New England colonies. The British New England colonies included Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. While there were several large communities within the Bay Colony, the city of Boston became the capital for the group.
A typical Puritan New England town was centered around a “commons,” or a central pasture for all to use. The meeting house, which was the main religious and community building, overlooked the commons. Nearby was a tavern, which was the main social institution for the community. Although drunkenness was frowned upon, drinking itself was acceptable because beer was often safer to drink than water. Thus, early New England towns mandated that taverns be as close to the meeting house as possible so that congregants could take a break from long Sunday services to warm up before returning to worship. There were some residences in town for the artisans, such as the blacksmiths, cobblers, and those connected to shipping. The farmer’s residences extended out from the commons, with the wealthy and prosperous having more and better land than poorer families. For several years, the Massachusetts Bay charter was used as a constitution for the Company. Governmental power in the Bay Company rested with the General Court, or the shareholders, who then elected the governor and his assistants. The right to vote and hold office was limited to male church members, called “freemen.” It was not considered democratic in the modern sense, but the system was considered a practical democracy based on the relationship between the Clergymen and the freemen who voted. At least in local affairs, the General Court developed powers and a structure similar to England’s Parliament. It had two houses: the House of Assistants, which was similar to the House of Lords, and the House of Deputies, which was similar to the House of Commons. Meanwhile, each community held town hall meetings made up of qualified male residents that managed local affairs, usually electing a moderator to officiate over meetings.

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