Freeman's Oath

The term "Freeman" in Colonial days had nothing to do with servitude or bondsmen. Simply it meant you were a full citizen of the Colony. Under the first Massachusetts charter, only Freemen had the right to hold public office or vote in town meetings. Indentured servants and bonded servant were not eligible.

To be admitted a freeman you must first fulfill the requirements.

Must of Sworn Allegiance to the Crown
Must be a Male over 21 years of age
Membership in a duly recognized church

Own personal property generally valued at 40 pounds or  40 shillings per year

Must be of a quiet and peaceful manner
Other Freemen in the area endorsed him.

If all of the requirements are met then they were allowed to take the Freemen's Oath at a meeting of the town's selectmen.

Being a Freeman brought certain duties and rights among others


The right to vote in town meetings


The right to hold public office


The right to elect deputies to the General Assembly


Required to pay taxes


The right to elect new Freemen

The Freeman's Oath was the first paper printed in New England. Printed in Cambridge Massachusetts, by Stephen Day, in1639. There is no known copy of the original.  Below is one version of the Freeman's Oath.  It changed slightly from providence to providence.


I ________being by gods providence, an Inhabitant, and Freeman, within the Jurisdiction of this Commonwealth; do freely acknowledge myself to be subject to the Government thereof: And therefore do here swear by the great and dreadful Name of the Ever-living God, that I will be true and faithful to the same, and will accordingly yield assistance and support there unto, with my person and estate, as in equity I am bound; and will also truly endeavor to maintain and preserve all the liberties and privileges thereof, submitting myself to the wholesome Laws and Orders made and established by the same. And further, that I will not plot or practice any evil against it, or consent to any that shall so do; but will timely discover and reveal the same to lawful Authority now here established, for the speedy preventing thereof.

Moreover, I do solemnly bind myself in the sight of God, that when I shall be called to give my voice touching any such matter of this State, in which Freemen are to deal, I will give my vote and suffrage as I shall judge in mine own conscience may best conduce and tend to the public weal of the body, So help me God in the Lord Jesus Christ.