Colonial Entrepreneurship 1620 to 1700: “Massachusetts Inc.”

The Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Plymouth Plantation are generally thought of as communities of refuge for English religious dissidents. They were also entrepreneurial ventures financed by English investors. This course examines the history of these ventures and some of the entrepreneurial characters engaged in these enterprises. At the beginning of the 17th century, three major drivers in England stimulated these ventures. First was commercial speculation among businessmen. Second were the dreams of feudal estates in the minds of the nobility. Third was the desire for religious freedom for those Separatists from the Church of England known as Puritans. The individuals motivated by these three stimulants sometimes collaborated, sometimes were in conflict, but all shared tremendous risks. One can look at the ventures as the three stages that are typical of entrepreneurial companies. The “startup” phase from 1620 to 1640, the “going concern” phase from 1640 to 1685, and finally the “corporate takeover” phase that was solidified from 1686 into the early 18th century. Among the major historical events that impacted colonial ventures during these 80 years were the Great Migration from England, the English Civil War, King Philip’s War, the Salem Witch Trials, and King William’s War.


Class Recordings:

Class 1 - February 8, 2024

Class 2 - February 15, 2024

Group Leader: JOHN HODGMAN
Venue: Online
Meets on: Thursdays 10 AM to noon
Starting: 2/8/2024
Sessions: 5
Class Size: 20
Teaching Style: Lecture and discussion
Weekly Preparation: None
Group Leader Biography:

From 1968 to 1983 John F. Hodgman served as personnel officer in one of the Big Eight CPA firms, director of the Massachusetts Employment Security Agency, and president of a computer software company. In 1984 he became president of the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation (MTDC), the Commonwealth’s venture capital firm, and filled that role until his retirement in 2001. He subsequently taught entrepreneurship courses at Tufts University until his second and final retirement in 2015. Hodgman has been a member of Beacon Hill Seminars since 2015 and has led five courses since 2019.