“Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.” – Henry David Thoreau
Why New England?
Tami has long wanted to hike on the East Coast. Her mother has always wanted to visit when the leaves were changing. It seemed the perfect time for Tami to take a down week and show her mom and aunt New England. We’ll be staying in Boston. Besides seeing all the historical sites there, we hope to drive through New Hampshire to see the leaves, visit Concord and Walden Pond and maybe take a trip to Martha’s Vineyard, depending on weather.
Historical and Cultural Information
New England is a geographical region which comprises six states of the northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and south, and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec to the northeast and north, respectively. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and southeast, and Long Island Sound is to the south.
The Puritan Pilgrims from England first settled in the region in 1620, forming the Plymouth Colony, the first successful English settlement in the Americas. Ten years later, more Puritans settled north of Plymouth Colony in Boston, thus forming Massachusetts Bay Colony. Over the next 126 years, people in the region fought in four French and Indian Wars, until the British and their Iroquois allies defeated the French and their Algonquin allies in North America. In 1692, the town of Salem, Massachusetts and surrounding areas experienced one of the most infamous cases of mass hysteria in the history of the Western Hemisphere, the Salem witch trials.
In the late 18th century, political leaders from the New England Colonies known as the Sons of Liberty initiated the resistance to Britain’s efforts to impose new taxes without the consent of the colonists. The Boston Tea Party was a protest to which Britain responded with a series of punitive laws stripping Massachusetts of self-government, which were termed the “Intolerable Acts” by the colonists. The confrontation led to the first battles of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, and the expulsion of the British authorities from the region in spring 1776.
Politically, the region often disagreed with the rest of the country. Massachusetts and Connecticut were among the last refuges of the Federalist Party, and New England became the strongest bastion of the new Whig Party when the Second Party System began in the 1830s. The Whigs were usually dominant throughout New England, except in the more Democratic Maine and New Hampshire. Leading statesmen hailed from the region, including Daniel Webster.
New England was distinct in other ways, as well. Many notable literary and intellectual figures were New Englanders, produced by the United States before the American Civil War, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, George Bancroft, and William H. Prescott.
The region played a prominent role in the movement to abolish slavery in the United States, and was the first region of the U.S. transformed by the Industrial Revolution, centered on the Blackstone and Merrimack river valleys. The Blackstone Valley, running through Massachusetts and Rhode Island, has been called the birthplace of America’s industrial revolution.