New England Habit of Vacant Land Seizure and Intolerance
American Southerners fled their farms as invading Northern forces came near and lost their land to the old New England concept of vacant land seizure. Following the earlier example of the subjection/enslavement of the native inhabitants of New England, abolition armies marched South to confiscate land and create economic colonies for the benefit of New England.  The South would participate in their political future, but only in the manner allowed the Vichy French after 1940.
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute  
New England Habit of Vacant Land Seizure and Intolerance:
“In 1643, just a few years after [Pokanoket King] Philip’s birth, the Puritans made a serious attempt to pull this tangle of confusions, these semi-patented colonies and insecure colonies, together into one political system. Their basic attitude in this effort was that all New England was theirs…there was no need to take the Indian “nations” into account when forming a regional government – those people had no vested right.
The Puritan divine John Cotton had put the matter even more succinctly: “in a vacant soyle, hee that taketh possession of it, and bestoweth culture and husbandry upon it, his Right it is.” Because so many areas of New England had been “providentially” cleared of occupants by disease or by raids, it seemed perfectly justifiable to move in and improve and organize the land.
The United Colonies of New England came into being, without native representation. This political body, convening in Boston, consisted of representatives from Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut…and New Haven. All of these colonies had sufficiently pure Puritan philosophies to be regarded as legitimate. Left out were Rhode Island (a.k.a. “Rogues’ Island”)…New Hampshire and Maine.
Many historians view the United Colonies not only as the official body that had to cope with King Philip’s War, but also the precursor of the Articles of Confederation of 1781 as well of all subsequent American unions.
But the war…which the United Colonies coordinated was a disaster. There would be no bloodier war in American history, in terms of proportionate populations: of a total population of eighty thousand, nearly nine thousand were killed; of those, one-third were English settlers, two thirds native Americans. Thousands of additional settlers became wards of the state, refugees on public relief, while thousands of additional native Americans were enslaved or prevented from reuniting with their people. Of New England’s ninety towns, fifty-two were attacked, with twenty-five pillaged and seventeen razed.
How could this have happened? How could God so have deserted his people of the new Israel? [Like Cromwell] they would be accompanied into battle by heavenly hosts, led by a “pillar of fire.” Another ultimate question is, Who should be blamed? The Puritans, who were fond of assigning blame, first looked to themselves and their own habits for the failures in the war. [The] Bay’s General Court, in repentance, passed a series of laws against the following errors: long hair, excess in apparel, disorderly children, idleness, oppression, tippling, and the Quakers.
The near loss of the war drove them not toward greater acceptance and tolerance but in the direction of harsher religious and civil strictness. Could they not see that their disinclination to include the Algonquians in any meaningful political structure was at the heart of this God-inflicted war?”
(The Red King’s Rebellion: Racial Politics in New England, 1675-1678, Russell Bourne, Atheneum, 1990, pp. 34-38)