views updated May 23 2018


ASSISTANT. According to the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company (1629), the company would be managed by a general court comprised of an elected governor and eighteen elected assistants, later known as magistrates. But the smaller Court of Assistants (six assistants and the governor) was permitted to take care of routine business. Responding to protests about his attempts to consolidate power in the Court of Assistants, Governor John Winthrop agreed to let every town send two deputies to the general court. The deputies eventually broke off and became the lower house (1644). Connecticut's Fundamental Orders (1639) provided for a governor and six assistants, plus four deputies from each town.


Middleton, Richard. Colonial America: A History, 1585–1776. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 1996.


See alsoAssemblies, Colonial .


views updated May 29 2018

as·sis·tant / əˈsistənt/ • n. a person who ranks below a senior person: the managing director and his assistant | [as adj.] an assistant manager. ∎  a person who helps in particular work: a laboratory assistant.