Settling the Good Land – Governance and Promotion in John Winthrop’s New England 1620-1650

Agnès Delahaye of the University of Lyon discusses “Settling the Good Land”, the first institutional history of the Massachusetts Bay Company, a cornerstone of early modern English colonization in North America. Delahaye analyzes the settlement as a form of colonial innovation, to reveal the political significance of early New England sources, above and beyond religion. Click here for the one-hour YouTube video of her presentation.


Massachusetts Historical Society President Catherine Allgor introduces author Agnes Delahaye for her Zoom presentation from her home in Lyon, France given on January 14, 2021.

The author talks about the land, shown on this map of “The South part of New England as it is Planted this yeare, 1634” printed by William Wood in his book, New England’s Prospect.


John Winthrop was not just a Puritan, but a settler governor who wrote the history of the expansion of his company as a record of successful and enduring policy. Delahaye argues that settlement, as the action and the experience of appropriating the land, is key to understanding the role played by Winthrop’s writings in American historiography, before independence and in our times.