Lead: In the movement toward representative government in the English and American experience there bumps in the road. Despite their intentions as expressed in the Mayflower Compact the Pilgrims’ settlement in Massachusetts did not lead to greater democracy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The main problem for the Pilgrims, the first of the puritan sects to immigrate to Massachusetts Bay after 1620, was that they needed the talents and participation of all who settled there. Originally the voters in town meetings and eventually the General Court of the colony were called freeman, but being a freeman carried important obligations. You had to show up at the annual meeting of the Court to vote. To miss this resulted in a heavy fine. As the colony spread out and distance became an issue, it became clear that many settlers could not or would become freeman. Anxious to hold the loyalty of all colonists, in 1638 The General Court voted to allow communities to elect representatives or deputies to conduct the business of the colony. Though only freemen could serve as deputies or colonial officials, all male colonials who had taken a loyalty oath and were head of a family could vote.

Listen to Segment