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A Free Reading Passage on Edward Rawson for AP U.S. History

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

May 27

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Edward Rawson is a referenced topic in the Regions of the British Colonies topic in Period 2 of AP U.S. History. You could reference this example on your AP U.S. History test.


Edward Rawson portrait

Edward Rawson/public domain

Edward Rawson was an important figure in the political and administrative life of colonial New England. Born in 1615 in Dorset, England, Rawson emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636. His extensive career in colonial administration, particularly his long tenure as Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, made him a key player in the governance and development of early America.


Edward Rawson came from a family of Puritan faith, which significantly influenced his decision to migrate to the New World. Seeking religious freedom and opportunities, Rawson settled in Newbury, Massachusetts, where he quickly became an active member of the community. His strong organizational skills and leadership abilities led to his election as the town clerk and later as a representative to the General Court of Massachusetts.


In 1650, Rawson was appointed Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a position he held for an impressive 36 years until 1686. As Secretary, Rawson was responsible for maintaining the colony’s records, drafting official documents, and overseeing correspondence. His role was crucial in ensuring the smooth operation of the colonial government and the implementation of its policies.


One of Rawson’s significant contributions was his involvement in drafting and maintaining the Massachusetts Body of Liberties in 1641, one of the earliest legal codes in the colonies. This document outlined the rights and responsibilities of the colonists and served as a foundation for future legal frameworks in New England and beyond.


Rawson’s tenure as Secretary coincided with a period of significant growth and change in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He played a vital role in the administration during the English Civil War and the subsequent Restoration period, navigating the colony through complex political landscapes and maintaining its autonomy.


His work extended to interactions with Native American tribes, where he was involved in negotiations and treaties. While these efforts were aimed at maintaining peace and securing land for colonial expansion, they also contributed to the displacement and marginalization of Native American communities.


A devout Puritan, Rawson’s influence extended beyond politics into the religious and social fabric of the colony. He was a staunch supporter of the Puritan church and its values, advocating for a society governed by strict moral and religious principles. This often placed him at the center of religious controversies and enforcement of conformity within the colony.


Edward Rawson retired from public service in 1686 and passed away in 1693. His contributions to the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s governance and legal foundations left a lasting legacy. Rawson’s meticulous record-keeping and dedication to public service helped shape the administrative structures that would influence future American governance.




PRINTABLE READING PASSAGE ON EDWARD RAWSON

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Edward Rawson FREE Reading Passage


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The Regions of British Colonies

Period 2

AP U.S. History




Edward Rawson

#EdwardRawson

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

May 27

7

0

0

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