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The wealthy and powerful made laws that mostly benefited their interests. The director general and a small group of authorities held sway—taxing citizens, meting out justice as they saw fit, and demanding that settlers obey company policy. An eight-man council was eventually elected by local citizens. Its members argued for lower taxes and demanded a new director general. The Dutch West India Company heard the council’s concerns, and in 1645 the colony’s government allowed for greater representation among the citizenry.

The Pequot War came to a violent climax in May 1637 when English captain John Mason made a surprise attack on the Pequot encampment at Misistuck—modern-day Mystic, Connecticut. Mason found mostly women and children in Misistuck but nonetheless ordered the village burned; those who tried to escape were shot. Nearly 700 of the Misistuck were killed; seven survived. Mason later claimed that the slaughter was an act of God, who “laughed at his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to scorn making [the Pequot] a fiery Oven.

For the next 80 years, Catholic influence in the colony waned and violence against its adherents rose dramatically. It would take a revolution to restore religious tolerance to a place founded on providing that very thing. 37 Quakers Seek Refuge Catholics in Maryland remained at odds with their Protestant counterparts. Yet religious intolerance also extended to another Christian sect that many in England considered particularly odd and heretical. These were the Quakers, so named because they bid others to tremble at the word of God.

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