American History – The Colonial Period

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The Colonial Period


Most settlers who came to America in the 17th century were English, but there were also Dutch, Swedes and Germans in the middle region, a few French Huguenots in South Carolina and elsewhere, slaves from Africa, primarily in the South, and a scattering of Spaniards, Italians and Portuguese through the colonies.

After 1680 England ceased to be the chief source of immigration. Thousands of refugees fled continental Europe to escape the path of war. Many left their homelands to avoid the poverty induced by government oppression and absentee-landlordism.

By 1690 the American population had risen to a quarter of a million. From then on, it doubled every 25 years until, in 1775, it numbered more than 2.5 million.

Although a family could move from Massachusetts to Virginia or from South Carolina to Pennsylvania, without major readjustment, distinctions between individual colonies were marked. They were even more so between the three regional groupings of colonies


New England in the northeast has generally thin, stony soil, relatively little level land, and long winters, making it difficult to make a living from farming. Turning to other pursuits, the New Englanders harnessed water power and established grain mills and sawmills. Good stands of timber encouraged shipbuilding. Excellent harbors promoted trade, and the sea became a source of great wealth. In Massachusetts, the cod industry alone quickly furnished a basis for prosperity.

With the bulk of the early settlers living in villages and towns around the harbors, many New Englanders carried on some sort of trade or business. Common pasture land and woodlots served the needs of townspeople, who worked small farms nearby. Compactness made possible the village school, the village church and the village or town hall, where citizens met to discuss matters of common interest.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony continued to expand its commerce. From the middle of the 17th century onward it great prosperous, and Boston became one of America's greatest ports.

Oak timber for ships' hulls, tall pines for spars and masts, and pitch for the seams of ships came from the Northeastern forests. Building their own vessels and sailing them to ports all over the world, the ship masters of Massachusetts Bay laid the foundation for a trade that was to grow steadily in importance. By the end of the colonial period, one-third of all vessels under the British flag were built in New England. Fish, ship's stores and wooden ware swelled the exports.

New England shippers soon discovered, too, that rum and slaves were profitable commodities. One of the most entrepreneuring – if unsavory – trading practices of the time was the so-called "triangular trade." Merchants and shippers would purchase slaves off the coast of Africa for New England rum, then sell the slaves in the West Indies where they would buy molasses to bring home for sale to the local rum producers.


Society in the middle colonies was far more diverse, cosmopolitan and tolerant than in New England. In many ways, Pennsylvania and Delaware owed their initial success to William Penn.

Under his guidance, Pennsylvania functioned smoothly and greatly rapidly. By 1685 its population was almost 9,000. The heart of the colony was Philadelphia, a city soon to be known for its broad, tree-shaded streets, substantive brick and stone houses, and busy docks. By the end of the colonial period, near a century later, 30,000 people lived there, representing many languages, creeds and trades. Their talent for successful business enterprise made the city one of the thriving centers of colonial America.

Although the Quakers dominated in Philadelphia, elsewhere in Pennsylvania others were well represented. Germans became the colony's most skillful farmers. Important, too, were cottage industries such as weaving, shoe making, cabinetmaking and other crafts.

Pennsylvania was also the principal gateway into the New World for the Scots-Irish, who moved into the colony in the early 18th century. "Bold and indigent strains," as one Pennsylvania official called them, they hated the English and were suspicious of all government. The Scots-Irish tended to settle in the back country, where they cleared land and lived by hunting and subsistence farming.

As mixed as the people were in Pennsylvania, New York best illustrated the polyglot nature of America. By 1646 the population along the Hudson River included Dutch, French, Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, English, Scots, Irish, Germans, Poles, Bohemians, Portuguese and Italians – the forerunners of millions to come.

The Dutch continued to exercise an important social and economic impact on the New York region long after the fall of New Netherlands and their integration into the British colonial system. Their sharp-stepped, gable roofs became a permanent part of the city's architecture, and their merchants haven Manhattan much of its original bustling, commercial atmosphere.


In contrast to New England and the middle colonies were the predominately rural southern settlements: Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina, and Georgia.

By the late 17th century, Virginia's and Maryland's economic and social structure rested on the great planters and the yeoman farmers. The planters of the tidewater region, supported by slave labor, held most of the political power and the best land. They built great homes, adopted an aristocratic way of life and kept in touch as best they could with the world of culture overseas.

At the same time, yeoman farmers, who worked smaller tracts of land, sat in popular assemblies and found their way into political office. Their outspoken independence was a constant warning to the oligarchy of planters not to encroach too far up the rights of free men.

Charleston, South Carolina, became the leading port and trading center of the South. There the settlers quickly learned to combine agriculture and commerce, and the marketplace became a major source of prosperity. Dense forests also bought revenue: lumber, tar and resin from the long leaf pine provided some of the best shipbuilding materials in the world. Not bound to a single crop as was Virginia, North and South Carolina also produced and exported rice and indigo, a blue dye obtained from native plants, which was used in painting fabric. By 1750 more than 100,000 people lived in the two colonies of North and South Carolina.

In the southern-most colonies, as everywhere else, population growth in the back country had special significance. German immigrants and Scots-Irish, unwilling to live in the original tidewater settlements where English influence was strong, pushed inland. Those who could not secure fertile land along the coast, or who had exhausted the lands they held, found the hills farther west a bountiful refuge. Although their hardships were noisy, restless settlers kept coming, and by the 1730s they were pouring into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Soon the interior was dotted with farms.

Living on the edge of the Indian country, frontier families built cabins, cleared tracts in the wilderness and cultured maize and wheat. The men leather leather made from the skin of deer or sheep, known as buckskin; the women women garments of cloth they spun at home. Their food consist of venison, wild turkey and fish. They had their own amusements – great barbecues, dances, housewarmings for newly married couples, shooting matches and contests for making quilted blankets. Quilts remain an American tradition today.


A significant factor deterring the emergence of a powerful aristocratic or gentry class in the colonies was the fact that anyone in an established colony could choose to find a new home on the frontier. Thus, time after time, dominant tidewater figures were obligated, by the threat of a mass exodus to the frontier, to liberalize political policies, land-grant requirements and religious practices. This movement into the foothills was of tremendous import for the future of America.

Of equal significance for the future were the foundations of American education and culture established during the colonial period. Harvard College was founded in 1636 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Near the end of the century, the College of William and Mary was established in Virginia. A few years later, the Collegiate School of Connecticut, later to become Yale College, was chartered. But even more noteworthy was the growth of a school system maintained by governmental authority. The Puritan emphasis on reading directly from the Scriptures underscored the importance of literacy.

In 1647 the Massachusetts Bay Colony enacted the "ye olde deluder Satan" Act, requiring every town having more than 50 families to establish a grammar school (a Latin school to prepare students for college). Shortly thereafter, all the other New England colonies, except Rhode Island, followed its example.

The first immigrants in New England bought their own little libraries and continued to import books from London. And as early as the 1680s, Boston booksellers were doing a thriving business in works of classical literature, history, politics, philosophy, science, theology and belles-letters. In 1639 the first printing press in the English colonies and the second in North America was installed at Harvard College.

The first school in Pennsylvania was begun in 1683. It taught reading, writing and keeping of accounts. Thereafter, in some fashion, every Quaker community provided for the elementary teaching of its children. More advanced training – in classical languages, history and literature – was offered at the Friends Public School, which still operates in Philadelphia as the William Penn Charter School. The school was free to the poor, but parents who could have been required to pay tuition.

In Philadelphia, numerous private schools with no religious affiliation taught languages, mathematics and natural science; there were also night schools for adults. Women were not entirely overlooked, but their educational opportunities were limited to training in activities that could be conducted in the home. Private teachers taught the daughters of prosperous Philadelphiaians in French, music, dancing, painting, singing, grammar and sometimes even bookkeeping.

In the 18th century, the intellectual and cultural development of Pennsylvania reflected, in large measure, the fictitious personalities of two men: James Logan and Benjamin Franklin. Logan was secretary of the colony, and it was in his fine library that young Franklin found the latest scientific works. In 1745 Logan erected a building for his collection and bequeathed both building and books to the city.

Franklin contributed even more to the intellectual activity of Philadelphia. He formed a debating club that became the embryo of the American Philosophical Society. His endeavors also led to the finding of a public academy that later developed into the University of Pennsylvania. He was a prime mover in the establishment of a subscription library, which he called "the mother of all North American subscription libraries."

In the Southern colonies, wealthy planters and merchants imported private tutors from Ireland or Scotland to teach their children. Others sent their children to school in England. Having these other opportunities, the upper classes in the Tidewater were not interested in supporting public education. In addition, the diffusion of farms and plantations made the formation of community schools difficult. There were a few endowed free schools in Virginia; the Syms School was founded in 1647 and the Eaton School emerged in 1659.

The desire for learning did not stop at the borders of established communities, however. On the frontier, the Scots-Irish, although living in primitive cabins, were firm devotees of scholarship, and they made great efforts to attract learned ministers to their settlements.

Literary production in the colonies was largely bound to New England. Here attention concentrated on religious subjects. Sermons were the most common products of the press. A famous Puritan minister, the Reverend Cotton Mather, wrote some 400 works. His masterpiece, Magnalia Christi Americana, presented the pageant of New England's history. But the most popular single work of the day was the Reverend Michael Wigglesworth's long poem, "The Day of Doom," which described the last sentence in terrifying terms.

In 1704 Cambridge, Massachusetts, launched the colonies' first successful newspaper. By 1745 there were 22 newspapers being published throughout the colonies.

How can you put a limit on learning more? The next section may contain that one little bit of wisdom that changes everything.

In New York, an important step in establishing the principle of freedom of the press took place with the case of Johann Peter Zenger, who New York Weekly Journal begon in 1733, represented the opposition to the government. After two years of publication, the colonial governor could no longer tolerate Zenger's satirical barbs, and had him thrown into prison on a charge of seditious libel. Zenger continued to edit his paper from jail during his nine-month trial, which excited intense interest through the colonies. Andrew Hamilton, the prominent lawyer who defended Zenger, argued that the charges printed by Zenger were true and hence not libelous. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty, and Zenger went free.

The prosperity of the towns, which prompted fears that the devil was luring society into pursuit of worldly gain, produced a religious reaction in the 1730s that came to be known as the Great Awakening. Its inspiration came from two sources: George Whitefield, a Wesleyan revivalist who came from England in 1739, and Jonathan Edwards, who originally served in the Congregational Church in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Whitefield began a religious revival in Philadelphia and then moved on to New England. He entranced audiences of up to 20,000 people at a time with histrionic displays, gestures and emotional oratory. Religious turmoil swept through New England and the middle colonies as ministers left established churches to preach the revival.

Among those influenced by Whitefield was Edwards, and the Great Awakening reached its culmination in 1741 with his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Edwards did not engage in theatrics, but delivered his sermons in a quiet, thoughtful manner. He stressed that the established churches bought to impoverish Christianity of its emotional content. His magnum opus, Of Freedom of Will (1754), attempted to reconcile Calvinism with the Enlightenment.

The Great Awakening brave rise to evangelical denominations and the spirit of revivalism, which continue to play significant roles in American religious and cultural life. It weakened the status of the established clergy and provoked believers to rely on their own conscience. Perhaps most important, it led to the proliferation of sects and denominations, which in turn encouraged general acceptance of the principle of religious tolerance.


In all phases of colonial development, a striking feature was the lack of controlling influence by the English government. All colonies except Georgia emerged as companies of shareholders, or as feudal proprietorships stemming from charters donated by the Crown. The fact that the king had transferred his immediate sovereignty over the New World settlements to stock companies and proprietors did not, of course, mean that the colonists in America were unnecessarily free of outside control. Under the terms of the Virginia Company charter, for example, full governmental authority was vested in the company itself. Neverheless, the crown expected that the company would be resident in England. Inhabitants of Virginia, then, would have no more voice in their government than if the king himself had retained absolute rule.

For their part, the colonies had never thought of themselves as subservient. Rather, they considered themselves chiefly as commonwealths or states, much like England itself, having only a loose association with the authorities in London. In one way or another, exclusive rule from the outside denied away. The colonists – inheritors of the traditions of the Englishman's long struggle for political liberty – incorporated concepts of freedom into Virginia's first charter. It provided that English colonists were to exercise all liberties, franchises and freedoms "as if they had been abiding and born within this our Realm of England." They were, then, to enjoy the benefits of the Magna Carta and the common law. In 1618 the Virginia Company issued instructions to its appointed governor providing that free residents of the plantations should elect representatives to join with the governor and an appointive council in passing ordinances for the welfare of the colony.

These measures proved to be some of the most far-reaching in the entire colonial period. From then on, it was generally accepted that the colonists had a right to participate in their own government. In most instances, the king, in making future grants, provided in the charter that the free men of the colony should have a voice in legislation affecting them. Thus, charters awarded to the Calverts in Maryland, William Penn in Pennsylvania, the proprietors in North and South Carolina and the proprietors in New Jersey specified that legislation should be enacted with "the consent of the freemen."

In New England, for many years, there was even more complete self-government than in the other colonies. Aboard the Mayflower, the Pilgrims adopted an instrument for government called the Mayflower Compact, "to" combine ourselves together into a civil body politic for our better ordering and preservation … and by virtue hereof [to] enact, constitution, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices … as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony …. "

Although there was no legal basis for the Pilgrims to establish a system of self-government, the action was not contested and under the compact, the Plymouth settlers were able for many years to conduct their own affairs without outside interference.

A similar situation developed in the Massachusetts Bay Company, which had been given the right to govern itself. Thus, full authority rested in the hands of persons residing in the colony. At first, the dozen or so original members of the company who had come to America tried to rule autographically. But the other colonists soon demanded a voice in public affairs and indicated that refusal would lead to a mass migration.

Faced with this threat, the company members yielded, and control of the government passed to elected representatives. Subsequently, other New England colonies – such as Connecticut and Rhode Island – also succeeded in becoming self-governing simply by asserting that they were beyond any governmental authority, and then setting up their own political system modeled after that of the Pilgrims at Plymouth .

In only two cases was the self-government provision omitted. These were New York, which was granted to Charles II's brother, the Duke of York (later to become King James II); and Georgia, which was granted to a group of "trustees." In both instances the provisions for governance were short-lived, for the colonists demanded legislative representation so insistently that the authorities soon yielded.

Usually most colonies became royal colonies, but in the mid-17th century, the English were too distracted by the Civil War (1642-1649) and Oliver Cromwell's Puritan Commonwealth and Protectorate to pursue an effective colonial policy. After the restoration of Charles II and the Stuart dynasty in 1660, England had more opportunity to attend colonial administration. Even then, however, it was inefficient and lacked a cohesive plan, and the colonies were left largely to their own devices.

The remoteness afforded by a vast ocean also made control of the colonies difficult. Added to this was the character of life itself in early America. From countries limited in space and dotted with populated towns, the settlers had come to a land of seemingly unending reach. On such a continent, natural conditions promoted a tough individualism, as people became used to making their own decisions. Government penetrated the back country only slowly, and conditions of anarchy often preceded on the frontier.

Yet, the assumption of self-government in the colonies did not go entirely unchallenged. In the 1670s, the Lords of Trade and Plantations, a royal committee established to enforce the mercantile system on the colonies, moved to annul the Massachusetts Bay charter, because the colony was resisting the government's economic policy. James II in 1685 approved a proposal to create a Dominion of New England and place colonies south through New Jersey under its jurisprudence, thereby tightening the Crown's control over the whole region. A royal governor, Sir Edmund Andros, levied taxes by executive order, implemented a number of other harsh measures and jailed those who resisted.

When news of the Glorious Revolution (1688-1689) that deposited James II reached Boston, the population rebelled and imprisoned Andros. Under a new charter, Massachusetts and Plymouth were united for the first time in 1691 as the royal colony of Massachusetts Bay. The other colonies that had come under the Dominion of New England were quickly refurbished their previous governments.

The Glorious Revolution had other positive effects on the colonies. The Bill of Rights and Toleration Act of 1689 affirmed Freedom of worship for Christians and enforced limits on the Crown. Equally important, John Locke's Second Treatise on Government (1690) set forth a theory of government based not on divine right but on contract, and contended that the people, endowed with natural rights of life, liberty and property, had the right to rebel when governments violated these natural rights.

Colonial politics in the early 18th century resembled English politics in the 17th. The Glorious Revolution affirmed the supremacy of Parliament, but colonial rulers advised to exercise powers in the colonies that the king had lost in England. The colonial assemblies, aware of events in England, attempted to assert their "rights" and "liberties." By the early 18th century, the colonial legislatures held two significant powers similar to those held by the English Parliament: the right to vote on taxes and expenses, and the right to initiate legislation rather than merely act on proposals of the governor.

The legislatures used these rights to check the power of royal rulers and to pass other measures to expand their power and influence. The recurring clashes between governor and assembly worked incrementally to awaken the colonists to the divergence between American and English interests. In many cases, the royal authorities did not understand the importance of what the colonial assemblies were doing and simply neglected them. However, these acts established precedents and principles and eventually became part of the "constitution" of the colonies.

In this way, the colonial legislatures established the right of self-government. In time, the center of colonial administration shifted from London to the provincial capitals.


France and Britain engaged in a succession of wars in Europe and the Caribbean at several intervals in the 18th century. Although Britain secured certain advantages from them – primarily in the sugar-rich islands of the Caribbean – the struggles were generally indecisive, and France remained in a powerful position in North America at the beginning of the Seven Years War in 1754.

By that time France had established a strong relationship with a number of Indian tribes in Canada and along the Great Lakes, taken possession of the Mississippi River and, by establishing a line of forts and trading posts, marked out a great crescent-shaped empire stretching from Quebec to New Orleans. Thus, the British were confined to the narrow belt east of the Appalachian Mountains. The French revolutioned not only the British Empire but the American colonists themselves, for in holding the Mississippi Valley, France could limit their westward expansion.

An armed clash took place in 1754 at Fort Duquesne, the site where Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is now located, between a band of French regulars and Virginia militiamen under the command of 22-year-old George Washington, a Virginia planter and surveyor.

In London, the Board of Trade attempted to deal with the conflict by calling a meeting of representatives from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the New England colonies. From June 19 to July 10, the Albany Congress, as it came to be known, met with the Iroquois at Albany, New York, in order to improve relations with them and secure their loyalty to the British.

The delegates also declared a union of the American colonies "absolutely necessary for their preservation," and adopted the Albany Plan of Union. Drafted by Benjamin Franklin, the plan provided that a president appointed by the king act with a grand council of delegates chosen by the assemblies, with each colony to be represented in proportion to its financial contributions to the general treasury. This organ would have charge of defense, Indian relations, and trade and settlement of the west, as well as having the power to levy taxes. But none of the colonies accepted Franklin's plan, for none wished to surrender either the power of taxation or control over the development of the western lands to a central authority.

England's superior strategic position and her competent leadership extremely satisfied victory in the Seven Years' War, only a modest proportion of which was cooked in the Western Hemisphere.

In the Peace of Paris, signed in 1763, France relinquished all of Canada, the Great Lakes and the upper Mississippi Valley to the British. The dream of a French empire in North America was over. Having triumphed over France, Britain was now composed to face a problem that it had hitherto neglected – the governance of its empire. It was essential that London organize its now vast possessions to facilitate defense, reconcile the divergent interests of different areas and peoples, and distribute more even the cost of imperial administration.

In North America alone, British territories had more than doubled. To the narrow strip along the Atlantic coast had been added the vast expanse of Canada and the territory between the Mississippi River and the Allegheny Mountains, an empire in itself. A population that had been predominately Protestant and English now included French-speaking Catholics from Quebec, and large numbers of partially Christianized Indians. Defense and administration of the new territories, as well as of the old, would require huge sums of money and increased personnel. The old colonial system was obviously inadequate to these tasks.


In 1692 a group of adolescent girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, became subject to strange fits after hearing tales told by a West Indian slave. When they were questioned, they accused several women of being witches who were tormenting them. The townspeople were appalled but not surprised: belief in witchcraft was widespread throughout 17th-century America and Europe.

What happened next – despite an isolated event in American history – provides a vivid window into the social and psychological world of Puritan New England. Town officials convened a court to hear the charges of witchcraft, and swiftly convicted and executed a tavernkeeper, Bridget Bishop. Within a month, five other women had been kissed and hung.

Neverheless, the hysteria great, in large measure because the court permitted witnesses to testify that they had seen the accused as spirits or in visions. By its very nature, such "spectral evidence" was especially dangerous, because it could be either verified nor subject to objective examination. By the fall of 1692, more than 20 victims, including several men, had been executed, and more than 100 others were in jail – including them some of the town's most prominent citizens. But now the hysteria threatened to spread beyond Salem, and ministers through the colony called for an end to the trials. The governor of the colony agreed and dismissed the court. Those still in jail were later acquitted or given reprieves.

The Salem witch trials have long fascinated Americans. On a psychological level, most historians agree that Salem Village in 1692 was designated by a kind of public hysteria, fueled by a genuine belief in the existence of witchcraft. They point out that, while some of the girls may have been acting, many responsible adults became cooked up in the frenzy as well.

But even more revealing is a closer analysis of the identities of the accused and the accusers. Salem Village, like much of colonial New England at that time, was undergoing an economic and political transition from a large agrarian, Puritan-dominated community to a more commercial, secular society. Many of the accusers were representatives of a traditional way of life tied to farming and the church, whereas a number of the accused witches were members of the rising commercial class of small shopkeepers and tradesmen. Salem's obscure struggle for social and political power between older traditional groups and a newer commercial class was one repeated in communities through American history. But it took a bizarre and deadly detour when its citizens were swept up by the conviction that the devil was loose in their homes.

The Salem witch trials also serve as a dramatic parable of the deadly consequences of making sensational, but false, charges. Indeed, a frequent term in political debate for making false accusations against a large number of people is "witch hunt."

It never hurts to be well-informed with the latest on The Colonial Period. Compare what you've learned here to future articles so that you can stay alert to changes in the area of ​​The Colonial Period.

Source by Floyd Dorrance

Provider Overview – MassMutual Annuities

MassMutual was originally established in 1851 by George W. Rice. Rice was an insurance agent for a Connecticut life insurance company wanting to open a similar business in Massachusetts. He started the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company which became a true mutual company – a company owned by its policyholders – soon after it was started.

Today, the company is based in Springfield, Massachusetts and Enfield, Connecticut and has grown from a personal insurer to an international financial services firm. It has approximately thirteen million clients worldwide and over $ 500 billion in assets under its management. In addition to its operations in the United States, MassMutual has affiliates in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, China, Macao, Argentina, Chile, Bermuda, and Luxembourg. The total number of offices for the company numbers over 1200, and the firm's full marketing name is MassMutual Financial Group.

MassMutual is still run for the benefit of its members and policyholders. They provide life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement / 401 (k) plan services, mutual funds, money management, and trust services in addition to annuities to their clients.

Although disputes are not guaranteed, MassMutory is proud of its financial strength and has paid dividends to policyholders every year since the 1860s. The company is also known for its charitable giving in the areas where they are based. They often donate to programs which benefit education, arts, culture, or economic development in the local community.

In terms of annuities, MassMutual offers five different products – two deferred variable annuities, one deferred fixed annuity, and one immediate annuity. The individual products are as follows:

Deferred Variable Annuities:

o MassMutual Transitions Select
o MassMutual Evolution

Deferred Fixed Annuities:

o MassMutual Odyssey and Odyssey Plus

Immediate Fixed Annuities:

o MassMutual RetireEase

Some of MassMutual's annuity policies can be initiated with death and living benefits. The death benefit option means that a beneficiary will receive all of the money in the account or a guaranteed minimum amount upon the annuitant's death. Enhanced death benefits are also available which may allow for a higher payment to the beneficiary. The living benefits include guaranteed minimum accumulation benefits, income benefits, and withdrawal benefits.

As with most insurers, MassMutual attachs additional fees associated with its annuity products. These include administration and management fees.There may also be a mortality risk charge and an expense risk charge, often known as an "M & E" charge. In addition, surrender charges may apply if the annuity is terminated early or a portion of the annuity is withdrawn.

When considering an annuity company, it is important to understand the financial strength of the organization. One of the best ways a doing this is by reviewing the company's financial ratios. Independent rating companies have given MassMutual some of the highest ratings in the industry. Below are the current ratings (as of July 2009) for MassMutual.

AM Best Company: (Superior, 1st of 15 categories)
Fitch Ratings: (Exceptionally Strong, 1st of 21 categories)
Moody's: (Excellent, 2nd of 21 categories)
Standard & Poors: (Extremely Strong, 1st of 21 categories)

Source by Steven Hart

New Blood Test for Cancer to Be Studied by Johnson and Johnson

A new test capable of detecting a single cancer cell among a billion healthy cells in a small sample of blood is under development. Veridex, a Johnson and Johnson company, and Ortho Biotech Oncology Research & Development (ORD), a unit of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical R & D have partnered with researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH, Boston, MA) to work on bringing the test to the market.

The initial prototype was developed by a team of doctors, engineers, and biologists led by Dr. Daniel Haber and Memhet Toner at Massachusetts General Hospital was first reported in 2007. The test detects circulating tumor cells (CTCs), cancer cells that break off from the tumor and get carried away in the blood stream. These CTCs are extremely rare, one may be detected for every billion normal healthy blood cells screened.

Haber and Toner have designed a CTC-chip that contains thousands of miniature pillars coated with antibodies that bind to CTCs. When a sample of blood is passed over the chip, the normal cells go through, but the CTCs stick. Specials stains then allow investigators to count the number of CTCs in a patient’s blood sample.

This test may be used to help doctors quickly make decisions about how to proceed when treating a patient’s cancer. If a doctor gives a particular drug and the number of cancer cells in the patient’s blood drops, then the doctor will stick with this treatment. If the number of cancer cells circulating in the blood increase or remain the same, the doctor can switch to another drug and which might work better at killing the cancer.

For example, doctors can give a drug or radiation treatment and then do a CT scan months later to see if the patient’s tumor has decreased in size. A patient may not live through more than a few rounds of treatment adjustment if they must wait to see if a change in tumor size can be detected. While the CT scan is a full body X-ray, the CTC-chip is simpler and only requires a few teaspoons of blood and can gauge whether the treatment was successful sooner.

The CTC-chip has been tested experimentally in approximately 200 cancer patients. A $15 million grant provided by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Stand Up to Cancer telethon will enable investigators at four major research institutions to study the test in more cancer patients. These institutes include: Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA), University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston, MA), and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY).

Right now the chip is expensive (approximately $500) and requires expertise to use. The collaboration with Johnson and Johnson will help MGH investigators find ways to make the chip faster, cheaper, more sensitive, and easier to use by physicians. Hopes are high. This chip may change the way cancer is diagnosed and treated in the near future.

Source by Aubrey Clark

Emission Inspection Stickers – Do I REALLY Need an Inspection to Get One?

Question: Can I get an inspection sticker for my car without going through an inspection?

Answer: Well, off the cuff, I'd say "No way José!" However, I thought that might be a poorly thought out response, so I thought I'd go to some US State websites and see what they had to say. I reviewed 10 states in various parts of the country, and here's the surprising results of what I found …

New York – "All vehicles registered in New York State must obtain a safety inspection and an emissions inspection every 12 months. Both inspections are also required when the ownership of a vehicle is transferred. (Both vehicles are exempt from emissions inspections.) Both inspections are done at the same time by a DMV-certified inspector at privately-owned inspection stations licensed by DMV. " So, "NO" in NY.

New Jersey – "You can make an appointment online for State inspection facilities in Salem, Cape May or Washington (Warren county)." So, "NO" in NJ.

Massachusetts – Massachusetts introduced its "next generation" vehicle emissions testing and safety inspection program on, October 1, 2008. Vehicles 1996 and newer will be tested for emissions (On Board Diagnostic test) every year along with the annual safety inspection. Motorists will be able to choose which inspection station they use as long as the station is licensed. The cost of the test is among the lowest in the nation for this type of program. The Mass Vehicle Check will continue to cost $ 29 annually. So, "NO" in MA also.

Let's move south a bit to Virginia – "Generally, all new car dealerships perform inspections. inspection services in your local phone directory. " So, "NO" in VA.

Going west to the great (big) state of Texas – "If your vehicle is not registered in one of the emissions counties, then you will have to get the vehicle re-inspected at one of the local inspection stations in your area Currently, there are no replacement procedures for non-emissions county motorists. Hmmmm … looks like a big "NO" in TX also!

Maybe things are looser in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State's regs read "If you live in the following counties, your vehicle may need to get an emissions test every 2 years:

  • Clark County
  • King County
  • Pierce County
  • Snohomish County
  • Spokane County "

So it looks like a good chance that if you live out of the 5 most populated areas in WA (unbelievably as 90% of the population lives in these 5 counties), you can get by without an inspection. I also know that the State of Washington does not use stickers for the inspection, but they do keep track via the central computers in the state capital and they will come and get you. This is the state of my residence, so I know this to be the case.

What about the laid back Midwest. I decided to check Kansas, and a ray of hope if you can stand living among the corn stalks! "Kansas does not have emissions enforcement for motor vehicles. You are not required to have your vehicle tested, and, inevitably, no related paperwork is required in order to register your vehicle." So, a big "YES" for KS !.

Many moons ago, I lived in Mississippi. The folks down there seem pretty laid back, so I thought I'd see what I could find there. Good news! At least for the time being as you'll see by the word here. "Mississippi meets all federal guidelines for air quality, so it has not yet made smog and emission checks mandatory for the vehicles of its residents. So, for the time being," YES "if you want to live in the alligator swamps! Well, at least in the south of the state.

Let's catch one more more state … that'll give us a smorgasbord from around the country. How about Minnesota? When I checked in to Minnesota , I had a pleasant surprise! "Minnesota's vehicle emissions testing ended in 1999, when the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requested reclassification of the area's air quality status from the federal government and got it." I did not even know you could reverse something like this. Usually, once a bureaucracy is in place, they're kind of like a cancer – very hard to remove. Kudos to Minnesota for a big fat "YES!"

So, as usual, the heavy regulatory states tend to be the most highly populated states in the Northeastern United States, and the socialistic leaning Western states, OR, WA, and of course, CA. But the good news is that the Midwest and the West (except the staged triage) have clean air and no testing is required, at least of the three we reviewed.

So, if you live in those states, yeah, you better get those stickers. But if not, then you're in luck. But I'm guessing by the way you framed your question, you're going to have to move to the Midwest or the South or Alaska to avoid those stickers.

Here's all the states in alphabetical order –

Alabama – Alabama does not require emissions testing of vehicles, although by state law any city can pass laws to begin testing. Currently none have done so.

Alaska – As of March 1, 2012 emission inspections are no longer required in Alaska. Another reversal. This may also speak to the fact that the US has so many emissions controls on vehicles.

Arizona – The Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) applies to vehicles in the metro Phoenix and Tucson areas which model year falls after 1967, mandating that the cars' emissions levels being inspected 90 days before their registration renewal date.

Arkansas – Arkansas does not require annual vehicle inspections. However, the state still expects you to pay careful attention to your vehicle emissions. Yeah, I'll bet every redneck in Arkansas is getting 'that emission checked out annually (smirk).

California – Whether you need it or not, the California DMV will mail you a registration renewal notice telling you whether you are required to get your vehicle smogged; it will also tell you if your vehicle requires a smog check at a test-only station. However, if your vehicle is six or less model years old, you are not required to obtain smog certification as long as you pay the annual $ 20 smog abatement fee. California will get you coming or going!

Colorado – An "enhanced test" is required in Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson as well as parts of Adams and Arapahoe counties. Even if you happen to live in a county that does not test, or only has the basic test (see below), yet you commute into these areas, then you also need to pass the enhanced test. A basic test is required in parts of Larimer, Weld, and El Paso counties. The area boundaries can get confusing, so if you are unclear as to your county's requirements just give the local title and registration office a call. Or just scream.

Connecticut – If you have a vehicle registered in Connecticut that is more than four or less than 25 years old, you are required to submit it for a state emissions inspection every other year.

Delaware – You must pass the emission test to register or renew registration on your vehicle. The test you are given depends on the age of your car.

Florida – On July 1, 2000, the State of Florida abolished the auto emissions test requirement for all vehicles through the state after 9 years of testing.

Georgia – All gas-powered passenger cars and light trucks between 3 and 25 years old in 13 Georgia counties must pass an emission inspection before being issued license plates.

Hawaii – At this time there are no set emissions standards for vehicles in Hawaii. The state is on the frontlines of the electric vehicle movement and has many hybrids on the streets.

Idaho – Northern Ada County (home of Boise, the largest city in Idaho) is the only county in Idaho that requires the vehicles of its residents to go through an annual emissions test.

Illinois – Many vehicles registered in Illinois are required by the state to have their emissions checked every two years. A notice is sent to car owners when it is time to be checked.

Indiana – If you're a resident of Clark, Floyd, Lake, or Porter counties, and your passenger vehicle is at least four years old, you will need to complete an emissions inspection every two years. If your vehicle was made before 1976, it does not need tested.

Iowa – Iowa lacks the heavy population that creates smog problems, so there are no guidelines in place for vehicle emission checks.

Kansas – Kansas does not have emissions enforcement for motor vehicles.

Kentucky – While Kentucky did adopt a vehicle emissions testing program for three northern counties in 1999, the requirement ended in late 2005.

Louisiana – Louisiana vehicle inspections focus more on the mechanical parts of your vehicle; however, certain vehicle emission parts will be checked, too. The exception is for cars that are registered in Baton Rouge. These are required to be given On-Board Diagnostics as well.

Maine – If you drive a car / truck in Maine, your vehicle needs to pass a safety inspection annually. Vehicles registered in Cumberland County also need to pass an emissions inspection.

Maryland – The year of your vehicle determines what sort of testing it will undergo. Vehicles from the current two model years are exempt from the first round of testing.

Massachusetts – In Massachusetts, you have to get your vehicle vehicle inspected every year. And since 1999, Massachusetts vehicle owners have also been required to submit their vehicles to an enhanced emissions check.

Michigan – Michigan currently does not require auto or truck emissions testing.

Minnesota – Minnesota's vehicle emissions testing ended in 1999.

Mississippi – Mississippi does not require smog or emission checks on any vehicle registered within the state.

Missouri – According to Missouri law, emissions inspections are required for drivers who live in St. Louis. Louis City or one of the following counties: Jefferson, Franklin, St. Louis Charles, and St. Louis.

Montana – Montana does not require smog or emission checks on any vehicle.

Nebraska – Nebraska does not have any official policy for vehicle testing.

Nevada – The urban areas located in Clark and Washoe counties are subject to strict emission testing requirements for most vehicles.

New Hampshire – To control emissions, the official licensed inspection stations are responsible for evaluating your vehicle's engine emissions in accordance with your vehicle registration.

New Jersey – Motorists in New Jersey are required by the Motor Vehicle Commission to take their vehicles for an emissions inspection every two years.

New Mexico – Anyone who lives in the greater Albuquerque metropolitan area will have their vehicle checked – or get an exemption – before registering it.

New York – New York requires all registered vehicles to have two kinds of inspections each year: a safety inspection and an emissions inspection. These are performed simultaneously at privately owned inspection stations licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

North Carolina – When you register your new gasoline-powered vehicles in an emissions county, your vehicle will have to pass an On Board Diagnostics emissions test. This is in addition to the safety inspection that your vehicle must also pass.

North Dakota – North Dakota does not require emission checks.

Ohio – Currently, E-Check only affects residents of seven of the state's 88 counties: Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, or Summit countiesâï½ïï½andand if you own a vehicleâï½ïï½yyou will need to have its emission system checked before you renew your registration.

Oklahoma – Oklahoma is one of the few remaining states that does not require emissions checks for any motor vehicles.

Oregon – The Dept. of Environmental Quality operates seven clean Air Stations in the Portland and Medford, or Rogue Valley areas. These areas are only subject to emissions testing.

Pennsylvania – This state requires a vehicle emission test once a year. So as to alert you when it's your turn, the state will stamp on your vehicle's renewal notice the words "Emissions Inspection Required / Diesel Vehicles Exempt."

Rhode Island – Emission checks must do every two years at any state-certified inspection station. Emission tests are done jointly with the annual safety inspection.

South Carolina – South Carolina does not require any smog or emission inspections on vehicles. The state meets all federal clean air standards.

South Dakota – South Dakota is one of the few states that do not require vehicle emissions testing of any kind.

Tennessee – Only gas or diesel-fueled vehicles weighing up to 10,500 pounds, registered in Davidson, Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties, as well as those registered in Memphis, will be required to submit to emissions testing before they can be registered or have their registrations renewed.

Texas – All cars in Texas undergo an annual safety inspection. Where mandated, an emissions inspection is added to this process (major urban centers like Dallas and Houston).

Utah – Utahans in the densely populated Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, and Weber counties are required to take their cars in for mandatory emissions testing every two years.

Vermont – Vermont does not require drivers to submit to annual or semiannual emission tests.

Virginia – As with many states, Virginia requires most vehicles to be up-to-date on two separate types of tests: one for safety, and one for emissions.

Washington – Emissions testing is required for all other gasoline and diesel vehicles between five and 25 years old that are registered in the five most populated Washington counties.

Washington DC – In the District of Columbia, motorists are required to have their vehicles inspected before registration, and the inspection must be renewed every two years.

West Virginia – West Virginia does not currently require emission checks as a requirement for vehicle registration.

Wisconsin – Vehicles newer than 1968 registered in the most populated Southern Wisconsin counties must undergo emissions testing when it's time for registration renewal.

Wyoming – Wyoming does not require smog or emission checks for any vehicles registered and titled in the state.

Source by Barry K. Brown

Do you know the Origin of Basketball?

Do you know the origin of basketball?
The origins of the game of basketball can be traced back to a gentleman by the name of Dr. James Naismith. In 1861, Naismith was born in Almonte, Ontario, Canada. During his early school days, Naismith would play a game called duck on a rock whereby the child would endeavor to knock the duck off the top of the rock with a toss of another rock.
Later on, Naismith would go on to McGill University in Montreal and would later become McGill University's Athletic Director. He would remarkably move on to YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts and in 1891, the game of basketball began.
Given the cold Massachusetts winters, Naismith needed to find a recreational activity that could have played indoors and he preferred a sport that would develop skill and one that was not exclusively relying on strength. The first game was played with two peach baskets for goals and a soccer ball.
Further to his credit, Naismith became a medical doctor specializing in sports physiology and a Presbyterian minister. Naismith was able to see his beloved sport of basketball, gain acceptance in numerous countries through the YMCA since 1893. As well, the sport of basketball was brought forth at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. As we speak, the game of basketball has become a very popular professional sport.

Source by Catherine Kenyeres

Chucking Wood

Woodchucks belong to the marmot (large ground squirrel) family and goes by a variety of names- groundhog, thickwood badger, monax, wood-shock, whistler, whistlepig (due to a warning sound made through their big front teeth), moonack, weenusk , red monk and in our family – PEST! Found through North America, woodchucks are primarily in the eastern United States and much of southern Canada. This morning it was spotted in south central Massachusetts, in our lakeside gardens. In New England, they inhabit both urban and suburban yards, fields, meadows, woodland clearings and are often found along grassy edged highways.

How do you identify a woodchuck? Look for a brown, thickly covered critter with small ears and beady little brown eyes, about 16 – 20 inches in length with a six-inch tail, weighing anywhere between six and 12 pounds. They have short, strong legs designed for digging and large front incisors. Despite their stocky appearance, woodchucks are accomplished swimmers and sometimes climbs trees to survey their surroundings or escape when being chased. Luckily for them, they do not have many predators to worry about because of their size, despite foxes, hawks, raccoons, coyotes, and dogs will go after their young.

Normally you will not find a woodchuck active during the day, as they are diurnal. They live in intensive burrows two-to six-feet deep and up to 40 feet long. Burrows contain many chambers for various functions, such as love nest, sleeping, nursery, bad weather hideout or waste. There can be as many as five openings in the den for the woodchuck to come and go. The main entrance will usually have a big dirt mound to the side for the woodchuck to observe or rest.

In summary, you will spot a woodchuck feeding in early morning and late afternoon, spending the reminder of the day snoozing or sun bathing. Such a life! In late summer, they begin to bulk up with weight in preparation for moving to their winter dens – one of the true hibernators found in Massachusetts. Interestingly while hibernating from October to April, their body temperature drops from 99 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while the heartbeat slows from 100 to four beats per minute!

Mating does not occur until the spring of their second year. In the wild their average lifespan is between five to six years. Females raise their young on their own after a 32-day gestation period. One litter will contain four to six kits or chuckling. After weaving around six weeks old, they are ready to leave the burrow with their mother. Once late summer arrives the kits venture off to discover the world on their own.

The diet of a woodchuck is primarily vegetarian (herbivorous) and this is where our garden begin begins. They feed on a variety of grasses, clover, alfalfa, dandelion, and many varieties of wild and cultivated flowers. They also enjoy blackberries, cherries, raspberries, and other fruits (our blueberries), along with hickory and maple tree bark. It is understood, a fresh vegetable garden is a favorite feeding table for the seemingly always hungry woodchuck. Common veggies preferences include broccoli, peas, beans, carrot tops, lettuce, and squash. Basically, everything we planed this spring! On the flower side, they target asters, daisies, lilies, marigolds, pansies, phlox, snapdragons, and sunflowers. I would add lupines to the list, as we saw our annoying woodchuck strip young lupine stalks like he was eating corn on the cob! It should be noted that they will also munch on grasshoppers, June bugs, grubs, snails, and other large insects when the green leafy delicacies become sparse.

Woodchucks are notorious for being a serious nuisance around farms and gardens. Fencing is the only viable humane solution to protect vegetation from these hungry rodents. Chicken wire wings that not only go up with a bend outwards at the top, but are buried down at least a foot underground can often work as a deterrent. Another method is to lay the chicken wire around the garden perimeter and secure a four to six-foot-tall fence. These critters climb and dig, so you must build up, down and around if possible. Other options include repellents – planting gopher plant or crown imperial fritillary around the garden or sprinkling the areas with fox or coyote urine, diluted Tabasco sauce, red pepper flakes, or human hair. If you have a dog, allow your pet to periodically visit the garden area to "mark" his or her territory.

Finally, woodchucks like all mammals, carry rabbies and are known to be aggressive. Avoid close contact. Do not even consider relocating a woodchuck in Massachusetts, as it is illegal. Darn. What's a gardener to do? Ever see the movie Caddy Shack with Bill Murray?

Source by Gregory James

A Look at Medigap Insurance

Medigap Insurance

Medicare health policies cover a wide range of medical condition, but unfortunately not all of them. Thus, Medicare will not pay the full cost of the medical services. In other words there are gaps in Medicare coverage. This is where Medigap insurance comes in; it is a health policy that covers the gaps in the original Medicare program.

Medigap insurance policies are all set by the government and are there before standardized, regardless of the state you live in. The only exceptions are those of Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin which are standardized in a slightly different way. There are 10 types of plans available, named from A to J. Plan A is the most basic and with each additional plan there are extra coverage options. You therefore select the plan that best fits your situation and budget. As of June 1st, 2010, plans E, H, I and J are no longer available, and two new plans, M and N, have been added. Furthermore, the benefits in plans A – G have undergone some changes.

The various Medigap insurance plans have the same benefits regardless of which provider sold it to you or in which state (with the exception of Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin). The only difference is the cost. Each insurance company decides how to price its promotions. The company usually uses medical underwriting (health status information that determines your suitability for health coverage) to decide if they'll accept your application and at what price.

Although the policies are set by the state, this is not a government funded program. Consumer associations and private insurance companies can be licensed to sell this insurance. You can obtain a list of the licensed providers by contacting your state insurance office. As soon as you are enrolled, you will pay for both this policy and Medicare premiums each month.

Once enrolled, your policy is automatically renewed and the provider can not cancel it even if there are health problems. An additional benefit is that as long as you're reasonably healthy, you can change plans according to your situation and preferred benefits. However a provider can not sell you more than one policy at a time.

There are some key elements to Medigap insurance that you must be aware of, one of which is the enrollment period. There is typically a 6 month open enrollment period that begins the day you turn 65 years or older. It is advisable that you enroll during the open enrollment period because the provider is obliged to sell you any policy even if you have health problems, and at the same cost as that of a healthy person. If you enroll after the 6 month open enrollment, the provider may not sell you a policy even if you're eligible as per to the medical underwriting – unless you are qualified according to certain limited situations.

Another important point to understand is that the policy does not allow spouses to apply jointly. Each person must apply individually.

You may also want take note that certain coverage is not included in Medigap insurance. These include: Medicare Advantage Plans; long-term care insurance policies; Veterans' benefits; TRICARE; Medicaid; Employer or union plans, including Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP); Indian Health Service, Tribal, and Urban Indian Health plans; and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.

Source by Robert N. Perry

3 Travel Stops For Edgar Allan Poe Fans

Do you listen to ravens … wondering if they'll ever say "Never more"? Does the clicking of your clock sound just a little too much like a tell tale heart? When you shop for wine, do your eyes linger over that bottle of Amontillado? Then you're probably a genre traveler with a soft spot for the work of Edgar Allan Poe.

This American writer, poet, editor and literary critic was best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre. Born in Boston, Mass., He moved to Richmond, Va. after his mother died when he but a toddler. He, himself, died in Baltimore, Md, when he was only 40 years old.

If you'll be traveling the North East of the United States and would like to pay homage to this very talented American writer, here are a few suggested stops for your itinerary.

Boston, Massachusetts
There is a plaque mounted on Carver Street mounted near the place where Poe was born. The plaque appointments other Boston place you might want to see, such as the corner of Washington and State Streets, where Poe's first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, was published.

Baltimore, Maryland
There are several stops in Baltimore that you can visit on your EAP tour. There is the Baltimore Poe House and Museum at 203 Amity street. The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore rescued this building demolition in 1941. If you visit in October, you can attend the annual Halloween celebration, held at the Poe House on the weekends before and after October. 31. Also, the weekend nearest January 19 marks the Edgar Allan Poe Birthday Celebration, held every year at the Poe House.

Poe's grave can be found at the Westminster Burying Ground. It is marked by an 80-inch tall monument that features a bas-relief bust of Poe. Tours of the Westminster Burying Grounds and Catacombs are held the first and third Fridays of each month, April through November.

Other Baltimore Poe stops may include the Sir Moses Ezekiel statue of Poe located in the plaza of the Law School of the University of Baltimore and Church Hospital, the Site of Poe's Death.

Richmond, Virginia
The Poe Museum "boasts the world's finest collection of Edgar Allen Poe's manuscripts, letters, first editions, memorabilia and personal belongings" … at least that's what their website says. Poe moved to Richmond when he as about about two years old. The museum, opened in 1922, is just blocks away from Poe's first home in the area, as well as his first place of employment, the Southern Literary Messenger.

Source by Carma Spence

Rebate Programs With Solar Energy

Latest Rebate Programs for Solar Energy

Solar energy is one of the most important and most abundant of the resources in the universe. This is one renewable energy resource that will not be depleted even if we, and future generations use it to the full. The following are some of the rebate programs for the rebate on green energy.

The first and the foremost is the new thermal rebate program in Massachusetts.

The program begins by stating that one of the easiest ways to bring down the residential expenses of a house is to install a solar water heater. The solar energy thermal panels are relatively low cost in terms of their installation, especially when you consider the benefits of free endless hot water at little or no cost.

No electricity is now required to wash clothes and to take a warm and relaxing shower. The new thermal rebate program in Massachusetts promises to lower the cost of the renewable system to a larger extent. The solar rebate program is looked after by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and provides a bonus of about $1000 back on the 2-panel solar water heater. This is a huge reduction and also comes with the benefits of the healthy living for both ourselves and for our future generation.

The next in line is the California Solar Initiative that was started in the 2006 and aims to distribute the incentive of $3 billion by 2016. In order to make sure that the installation of the photovoltaic uses the current efficient technology designs and methods the California Solar Initiative has transitioned towards a performance based incentive. The levels of these incentives are reduced annually. The rebate offered currently is of the standard of $1.55 per watt and 41.90 per watt for the service takers.

The third in this category is the Boston new pilot program that encourages residential homeowners to invest in their own green energy and solar power station installations. Mayor Thomas M. Menino launched Renew Boston residential solar pilot program that offers the rebate to lower costs.

The program was possible due to the American recovery and reinvestment act energy efficiency and conservation block grant for small residential solar photovoltaic installation by providing matching rebates with the Massachusetts clean energy centers commonwealth solar program II.

The residential debates are expected to be the ranging from $1000 to $3000 in no less than three years. The participating people that are the local residents of Boston should invest in these energy efficiency improvements.

Source by J H Johnson

Mercy Otis Warren, Second-Class Citizen

America was settled by Europeans primarily from Great Britain who came seeking religious freedom, economic opportunity, and the chance to establish new communities and social organizations and by slaves. In 1619, the first slaves were bought by Dutch traders.

Life was not easy. Colonists (both Europeans and slaves) faced Indian raiders and diseases like malaria and typhus. Life in the colonies was different from life overseas in other ways, too. Many children died in infancy; adults died leaving children to grow up with relatives, family friends or foster parents. Remarriage and the formation of step families were common.

This was a departure from the norm the colonists had been used to in Europe where the nuclear family prevailed. (Steoff, 2003, p. 57)

In the seventeenth and eighth centuries, the roles of men and women were established by parents and the religious leaders of their communities. Colonial men worked at trades or owned businesses like farms. Colonial women spun, wove and sewed garments; cooked; cleaned; gardened; washed and ironed; chopped wood, and raised and educated their children.

Women were expected to be obedient to their fathers, husbands or other male relatives and to become wives and mothers. (Micklos, 2013, pp. 5-12)

Nonetheless these differences and hardships propelled some women to stand out from the rest.

Mercy Otis Warren was born into a wealthy family in West Barnstable, Massachusetts. Mercy was not a typical girl even for the times in which she lived. Her father was a traveling lawyer and a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives who would bring home the latest political news from Boston. His two oldest children, Mercy and her brother James (Jemmy), found the colonists' conflicts with Great Britain fascinating.

Like her sisters, Mercy was educated at home in the domestic arts. Mr. Otis, however, believed that girls as well as boys should learn to read and write so the two oldest children, Mercy and Jemmy, were tutored at home by a minister. Mercy loved reading and history. Her favorite book was Sir Walter Raleigh's The History of the World.

When he grew older, Jemmy joined at Harvard. Mercy stayed home because women were not allowed to go to college. She could, however, devour the books that Jemmy bought home especially the writings of the radical philosopher John Locke.

Locke wrote about freedom and the natural rights of man. He also wrote about the social contract. Individuals, he believed, created Governments in order to protect their lives, liberty and prosperity. When a government threatened those rights, it broke the social contract. This meant that the people could change or even unmake their government. (Woelfle, 2012, p. 5)

Although the colonists created new communities and social organizations, they considered themselves subjects of Great Britain. Influenced by the ideas of Locke and the Enlightenment, the colonists began to question this relationship arguing that they should have more control over their local government. (Steoff, 2003, p. 96)

When Jemmy graduated from college, Mercy attended his graduation ceremony and graduation parties. She met Jemmy's friend and her future husband, James Warren, there. He was a farmer and like her father, a politician. James was not afraid of smart women. They married and together raised five sons on a farm in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Mercy raised their children and ran the family farm but secretly wrote and published poems and plays in her spare time.

While life in Plymouth was quiet and busy for the Warren family, Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty were opposed against the taxes imposed on the colonists by the British government in nearby Boston.

Neighboring communities like Plymouth joined the protests which initially laid the groundwork for the American Revolution.

Women like Mercy who were influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment and the colonists' protests, would soon join their husbands, fathers and brothers in the struggle for the creation of a new republic. Women visited army camps and sewed clothes, nursed and fed the soldiers. They spied for the patriots and even worn men's clothing and cooked in numerous battles.

The Warren's home became a meeting place for revolutionaries and intellectuals. They laid the plans for the Continental Congress there prompting Mercy to call her house "One Liberty Square."

Mercy proudly and boldly participated in the planning sessions.

During this period, she began a regular correspondence with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Abigail Adams, whose husband John became the second President the United Sates. These friendships lasted most of her life.

Mercy continued to write and publish political poems and plays that were supportive of the rebels and the revolution during the period of the war for independence.

She used the pseudonym Fidelia for these poems and dramas which were intentally anti-British. In Model Celebration, mermaids and other sea creatures enjoy sipping British tea during the Boston Tea Party of 1773. In Blockheads, Mercy made fun of the King George III.

The British did not know who wrote these works otherwise Mercy would have been hung for treason.

In 1775, James became General James Warren but the aftermath of the war bought tragedy to Mercy's family. In 1783, Jemmy was stuck by lightning and died. Mercy and James lost their son Charles in 1785 to tuberculosis. Another son, Winslow, joined the army and was killed in an Indian raid in 1791. In 1800, George died of a fever.

Warren was noted for the three-volume History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution Interspersed with Biographical, Political and Moral Observations published in 1805 when she was seventy-seven years old. She was able to sign the manuscript, "Mrs. Mercy Warren of Plymouth, Massachusetts." It is considered the first history of the conflict between America and Britain.

Colonial widows, unlike most women, enjoyed a life of independence. Many had the experience of helping their husbands with the family farm or business and when their spouse died, they took over day-to-day operations.

Mercy Otis Warren was no different. Throughout all the personal tragedies, Mercy continued to write, operate the farm and support the new nation, the United States of America.

Mercy died in 1814. Mercy and James are buried in the Old Burial Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts.


Micklos, John. The Brave Women and Children of the American Revolution. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc. 2009

Steoff, Rebecca. Colonial Life. NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2003.

Woeffle, Gretchen. Write On, Mercy! The Secret Life of Mercy Otis Warren. Honesdale, PA: Calking Creek Books, 2012.

Source by Marion A Constantinides