Connecticut, which ranked next to Massachusetts among the New England and Puritan colonies, was the product of the union of two smaller colonies, the New Haven colony and the original Connecticut colony. The former colony was settled under a grant given by Charles I to Viscount Say and Seal, Robert, Lord Brook, and others. The first settlement in the latter colony was made at Hartford in 1635. In 1639 a constitution for the government of the colony was adopted by a general vote of the citizens. This constitution served as a basis for the charter afterwards obtained from the King. Connecticut sided with the Parliament during the civil wars and enjoyed practically self-government during the period of the Commonwealth. Upon the restoration, however, the colony had fears regarding their liberties and therefore the General Assembly made a formal acknowledgment of their allegiance which they sent to the King, together with a petition for a charter, by Governor Winthrop. Although at first coldly received, Winthrop finally succeeded in obtaining a charter from the King, which annexed to Connecticut the territories of the colony of New Haven and part of Rhode Island. It is probable that the King was induced to take this step less by any kindly feelings towards Connecticut, than by a desire to raise up a strong rival to Massachusetts in New England, and to punish New Haven, which had given shelter to three of the judges who had tried and condemned his father.

The operation of the charter was temporarily suspended during the reign of James II but was put in operation once more upon the accession of William and Mary. The provisions of this charter were so liberal that the charter was continued in use as a State constitution for many years after the Independence of the United States had been secured. The provision in the charter annexing a portion of Rhode Island led to a boundary dispute with that colony which lasted sixty years, while a provision in the charter that its territory should extend westward to the Pacific nearly involved Pennsylvania and Connecticut in a civil war near the close of the eighteenth century.

Connecticut very closely resembled Massachusetts in the character of her people, her political and religious principles and her form of local government.