The Puritans Essay
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The Puritans were a religious group that came to North America in search of religious freedom, and, in the process, greatly impacted the North American church, government, education, social mores, and economy. Many of the things that they implemented in the first colonies are still seen today in the social and governmental structures of the United States. Their beliefs and traditions are still practiced today and many social mores are still being adhered to, even now.
The Puritans first became a sect in England, where they became dissatisfied with the Church of England and sought reform. They led a civil war but their victory was short-lived and they came to North America to escape persecution. “The Puritans believed that the Bible was God’s true law and that it provided a plan for living.” They wanted to live according to this belief and that is what brought the separation between them and the Church of England. For the Puritans, God was to be the motivation of all their actions (Kizer, Kay). They believed in piousness, righteousness, and hard work. (Campbell, Douglas).
One of the Puritans’ greatest impacts was on church, or religion. They taught religious exclusiveness and spiritual unity which still remain today and can be seen throughout the various denominations of Christianity, such as exclusiveness with the Seventh Day Adventists or Jehova Witnesses. The Puritans held fast to the belief of John Calvin in predestination and followed a harsh interpretation of
scripture. They emphasized redemptive piety and individual responsibility to God (Kizer, Kay). Many of these beliefs are still reinforced today in Christian churches in a variety of ways.
Another area in which the Puritans were influential is the area of government. It was the Puritans who set up one of the first governments in North America. Their government was in the form of a republic, which later became a model for the United State’s future government. They came up with the idea of two houses of representatives that could pass bills and as we can see in the U.S. government today, their idea stuck (Chamber, ). Even though their government was a republic, the Puritans pushed the principles of democracy. Their ideals, such as freedom, liberty, and religion, became a base for our society today. The Puritans also left a legacy of conservatism which remains an important factor in North American government today (The Social Studies Help Center). What’s more, Puritan influence helped shape North American constitutional and common laws, such as “Congress shall make no laws establishing religion…” (McGowan et al. v. Maryland).
The Puritans’ greatest lasting impact was on education. They believed that education was important in order to understand the Bible, and therefore stressed the education of all persons. Religious zeal was the main drive for establishing a system of education. As stated in Puritanism in Early American History,...
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US History Essay
During the seventeenth century, the Puritans landed in New England to form the Massachusetts Bay colony. John Winthrop, the first Governor of the colony, saw the place as a political and religious refuge. He described it as “a city upon a hill.” In England, the Puritans were not free to practice their faith and were persecuted by the Anglican Church. The Puritans wanted to create an ideal society where they could practice religion at will. These people risked everything just so they could freely practice their faith. Their sole purpose in settling in America was to sustain and practice their religion.
The Massachusetts Bay colony was very different from their counterpart, Jamestown. Jamestown colonists consisted of mainly single men who came to the New World to merely make money. These money-hungry profiteers were interested in milking the land for cash crops and other sources of revenue. The Puritans, on the other hand, formed communities where they could closely practice their faith together. They had a big focus on families and community worship. The Puritans also created a government, which was based on the idea of the rule of the majority. The Jamestown colony was not interested in making communities.
The Puritans’ priorities were centered on their religion and the teaching of it. This is clearly shown in their focus of education. The purpose of education to them was to teach the children religious and moral values. This would prove to be a very good way to. Every community of 50 families had a teacher and every community of 100 families had a school. The Puritans emphasis on religious education supports the fact that they had moralistic plans for the New World. The Jamestown colonists, however, were not as concerned with education.
Although the Puritans came to the New World for religious freedom, they did not accept people whose religious beliefs differed from those of the Puritans in the community. Anne Hutchinson, a religious reformer, held meetings at her house to read the Bible to puritan men and women.
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Puritan Single Men Good Way Purpose Of Education Religious Freedom John Winthrop Anglican Church Religious Education Ideal Society Seventeenth Century
John Winthrop thought that these meetings were an attack on the moral codes of the Puritan society. As a result, Hutchinson was banned from Boston in 1638. This event proved that the Puritans did not create the “perfect model society” they had hoped for.
The Puritans came to the New World hoping to run away from the strict laws that the British put on them. They mostly achieved what they were looking for except for the fact that they put restriction on some of the laws.