Puritan Boston Tests Democracy is a comprehensive and interactive digital reference to the first 60 years of Boston’s history. It is a time often overlooked by historians when the Puritans grappled with the ideals that first brought them to America. Here they established the roots of participatory democracy leading to the rise of religious diversity in Boston. The app includes over forty formative events from 1629 to 1691, long before Boston became the cradle of the American Revolution. The app also includes more than 30 sites as well as biographical information on over 30 individuals, from Governor John Winthrop who called upon his fellow colonists to create a society that would be as “a City upon a Hill” to dissenters such as Anne Hutchinson. The events are geo-referenced, so you can use it as a guide to trace activities and follow the story with special tours.
It is a visual database as well, showing current photos of the sites as well as historic sketches and portraits of individuals. You can use the guide to visit the events that transformed a close knit community of like-minded people into a busy commercial town. You will take away a new appreciation for the complex and diverse world of early Boston and Massachusetts, in person, or from the comfort of your home.
You can access original resources with links that take you to sources in the Congregational Library & Archives’ manuscript collection and consult the bibliography. The app is backed by the rigorous research of Dr. Francis J. Bremer, a premier expert on Puritanism in the Atlantic world and prolific author. Working with Dr. Bremer, scholars Margaret Bendroth, Lori Rogers Stokes and Emerson Baker referenced the collections of the Congregational Library & Archives and its partner historical institutions in Boston and relied on multiple resources.
Data is displayed on scalable maps, which can be zoomed in or out with a simple pinch or swipe, and on easy to search tables. With a few taps you can search for people, places and events. The story is told in 21 short chapters, providing an easy to use informative and enjoyable experience for the tourist, amateur historian, educator or researcher. You can even walk through Boston with a GPS enabled Android device and watch your user position change as you intersect the location of important historical events, and visit the landmarks described and geo-referenced in the app.
The app has been created by the Congregational Library & Archive and funded in part by Mass Humanities which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.