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Introduction Utopian Literature Dystopian Literature Utopian Communities


Plan of New Haven

James Wadsworth. “Plan of the City of New Haven Taken in 1748.” Manuscript map.
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Detail of Map pixel.gif Davenport's Old Testament pixel.gif  
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John Davenport and Theophilis Eaton, joint leaders of a company of colonists who had arrived at Boston from England in 1637, searched in vain for a suitable place to settle near Massachusetts Bay. They turned to the land of the Quinnipiac in Connecticut. The colonists arrived at their new home on April 14, 1638. The next day, Davenport preached on “the temptation in the wilderness” from Matthew 4:1 and the new colony took its place on the shores of New Haven harbor.

Two months later, the planters met to lay the foundations of their civil government. They agreed that “the Scriptures do hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of men in their duties” and the theocratic community took shape.

Davenport next gathered the new church, aspiring to an even greater purity of worship than that found in the other colonies. Alone in the wilderness, the colonists sought a “church compact within itself, without subordination under or dependence upon any other but Jesus Christ.” In designing their ideal town, they created a grid of nine squares with the church in the central green, the common pasture. In such utopian dreams was America born.