John Cotton and the Lawes of New England

As a dissenting religious movement within the Church of England, the Puritans sought to create a model religious community in the New World: The Massachusetts Bay Colony!

John Cotton, son of a prominent lawyer and an influential New England Puritan leader, drafted the first law code for the colony in 1636.

He was advised by magistrates to “make a draft of laws agreeable to the word of God, which may be the fundamentals of this commonwealth.”

Cotton’s published “abstract” became known informally as “Moses His Judicials.”

Formally educated in Hebrew, Cotton drew heavily from passages in Deuteronomy, Exodus, and Leviticus.

His abstract was never adopted exactly as written, but the impact of Cotton’s code greatly influenced Massachusetts law and law for the New Haven Colony, which became Connecticut.

Engage with the Bible—in all its impact and influence!


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