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Protecting the Charter: Strategic Resistance in 17th-century Boston

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First Church Boston - chapel

66 Marlborough Street

Boston, MA 02116

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17th-century English kings repeatedly tried to shape Massachusetts Bay into a colony that would bring wealth and an abundant supply of resources to their emerging empire.

The colonists, however, thought differently. They thought the state should conform to the needs of the people and the church, not the other way around – as Puritans, they argued that status should be linked to piety rather than wealth or class.

And so in the 1660s, colonists mobilized to protect the liberties set out in their original charter, and they did so by engaging in strategic forms of resistance. They successfully defied four royal commissioners who came to the colonies to enforce Charles II’s demands. Then in the 1680s under James II, the royal governor Edmund Andros tried again to curtail their liberties...and the colonists rebelled by imprisoning Andros!

Throughout these events, the men and women of Massachusetts developed a constitutional culture that prioritized consent and also limitations on arbitrary rule.

This compelling talk by Dr. Weimer uncovers the earliest acts of colonist resistance to the English crown.

An RSVP for this event is requested but not required.

About the speaker

Adrian Chastain Weimer is Associate Professor of History at Providence College. Her first book, Martyrs' Mirror: Persecution and Holiness in Early New England (Oxford, 2011) explores how puritans, Baptists, and Quakers imagined themselves within historical narratives of persecution, especially the stories in John Foxe’s “Book of Martyrs.” Recent articles include “Elizabeth Hooton and the Lived Politics of Toleration in Massachusetts Bay” (William & Mary Quarterly, 2017) and “Huguenot Refugees and the Meaning of Charity in Early New England” (Church History, 2017). Her work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and most recently through 2017-2018 NEH Long-term Research Fellowships from the Massachusetts Historical Society and the American Antiquarian Society.

About the event series

Every fall, in honor of the naming of Boston, the Partnership of Historic Bostons hosts a series of free events exploring an intriguing aspect of Puritan life. This year’s theme is From Theology to Commerce: the First Three Generations of 17th-century Boston.

To see a list of the entire series of FREE events, please visit http://historicbostons.eventbrite.com


Image: Citizen petition from town of Hadley, 1665. Used with permission from Massachusetts Archives Collection.


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First Church Boston - chapel

66 Marlborough Street

Boston, MA 02116

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