The Reality of Empire: New Englanders on the Ground in Seventeenth Century East Jersey

Maxine N. Lurie


The overall question of this article is what it meant for those living in seventeenth century New Jersey to be part of the English Empire. Did it matter at the local level? How did imperial changes (between Dutch and English, various proprietors) impact the settlers? What happens to our understanding of this time and place if we look at it from the perspective of the people on the ground, using surviving local town meeting records as the source? To find answers the paper asks two related questions: who were the settlers and where did they come from? And also what attracted them – was it land or religious freedom, or perhaps a combination of both?

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