Fandom

Scratchpad

Colonial things

215,631pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Discuss this page0 Share

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.

European nations came to the Americas to increase their wealth and broaden their influence over world affairs. The Spanish were among the first Europeans to explore the New World and the first to settle in what is now the United States.

By 1650, however, England had established a dominant presence on the Atlantic coast. The first colony was founded at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. Many of the people who settled in the New World came to escape religious persecution. The Pilgrims, founders of Plymouth, Massachusetts, arrived in 1620. In both Virginia and Massachusetts, the colonists flourished with some assistance from Native Americans. New World grains such as corn kept the colonists from starving while, in Virginia, tobacco provided a valuable cash crop. By the early 1700s enslaved Africans made up a growing percentage of the colonial population. By 1770, more than 2 million people lived and worked in Great Britain's 13 North American colonies.

The term colonial history of the United States refers to the history of the land that would become the United States from the start of European settlement to the time of independence from Europe, and especially to the history of the thirteen colonies of Britain which declared themselves independent in 1776.[1] Starting in the late 16th century, the Spanish, the British, the French, Swedes and the Dutch began to colonize eastern North America.[2] Many early attempts—notably the Lost Colony of Roanoke—ended in failure, but successful colonies were soon established. The colonists who came to the New World were not alike; they came from a variety of different social and religious groups who settled in different locations on the seaboard. The Dutch of New Netherland, the Swedes and Finns of New Sweden, the Quakers of Pennsylvania, the Puritans of New England, the English settlers of Jamestown, and the "worthy poor" of Georgia, and others—each group came to the new continent for different reasons and created colonies with distinct social, religious, political and economic structures.[3]

Historians typically recognize four distinct regions in the lands that later became the Eastern United States. Listed from north to south, they are: New England, the Middle Colonies, the Chesapeake Bay Colonies (Upper South) and the Lower South. Some historians add a fifth region, the frontier, as frontier regions from New England to Georgia resembled each other in certain respects. Other colonies in the pre-United States territories include New France (Louisiana), New Spain (including Florida, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Utah and parts of Colorado and Wyoming), Columbia District (Washington state, Oregon and northern California) and Russian Alaska.

Motives for colonization

The main colonizing regions of Europe were those where ocean-worthy shipbuilding innovations and navigational technology and skills were developing, as well as an expanding population willing and able to establish themselves in foreign lands. The Spanish and Portuguese centuries-old experience of conquest and colonization during the Reconquista, coupled with new oceanic ship navigation skills (developed mainly in Italy[citation needed]), provided the tools, ability, and desire to colonize the New World. The English, French, and Dutch of northwest Europe were slower to start colonies in America. They had the ability to build ocean-worthy ships, but did not have as strong a history of colonization in foreign lands as did Spain, although the English conquest and colonization of parts of Ireland played a role in the later development of larger scale colonization efforts As the "New Monarchs" began to forge nations, they acquired the degree of centralized wealth and power necessary to begin systematic attempts at exploration. Not all exploratory undertakings, however, were done by central governments. Charter companies and joint stock companies also played a crucial role in exploration. Spain's experience during the Reconquista gave their American colonization efforts qualities of centralized governmental control, military conquest, and religious missionary efforts. In contrast, northwest Europe's experience with early capitalism (mercantilism), going back to organizations like the Hanseatic League, gave their colonization of America qualities of merchant-based investment and less government control.

Early colonial failures

Spain established several colonies in the area that is now the United States. Several of these early attempts failed. In 1526, Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón founded the colony San Miguel de Guadalupe in present day Georgia or South Carolina. The colony only lasted a short while before disintegrating. It was also notable for perhaps being the first instance of African slave labor within the present boundaries of the United States. Pánfilo de Narváez attempted to start a colony in Florida in 1528. The Narváez expedition ended in disaster with only four members making it to Mexico in 1536. The Spanish Colony of Pensacola in West Florida (1559) was destroyed by a hurricane in 1561. Fort San Juan was established in 1567 in the interior of North Carolina but was destroyed by local Native Americans 18 months later. The Ajacan Mission, founded in 1570, failed the next year, very near the site of the later English colony of Jamestown.

The French established several colonies that failed, due to weather, disease or conflict with other European powers. A small group of French troops were left on Parris Island, South Carolina in 1562 to build Charlesfort, but left after a year when they were not resupplied from France. Fort Caroline established in present-day Jacksonville, Florida in 1564, lasted only a year before being destroyed by the Spanish from St. Augustine. In 1604, Saint Croix Island, Maine was the site of a short-lived French colony, much plagued by illness, perhaps scurvy. Fort Saint Louis was established in Texas in 1685, but was gone by 1688.

The most notable English failures were the "Lost Colony of Roanoke" (1587-90) in North Carolina and Popham Colony in Maine (1607-8). It was at the Roanoke Colony that the first English child, Virginia Dare, was born in the Americas; her fate is unknown.

Spanish colonies

[edit] Florida Main article: History of Florida

Spain established a lot small settlements in Florida, most of which were soon abandoned. The most important settlement was at St. Augustine, Florida, founded in 1565. It was repeatedly attacked and burned, with most residents killed or fled. Missionaries converted 26,000 natives by 1655, but a revolt in 1656 and an epidemic in 1659 proved devastating. Pirate attacks were unrelenting against small outposts and even against St Augustine. The British and their colonies repeatedly made war against Spain and its colonies and outposts. South Carolina launched large scale invasions in 1702 and 1704, which effectively destroyed the Spanish mission system. St Augustine survived, but English-allied Indians such as the Yamasee conducted slave raids throughout Florida, killing or enslaving most of the region's natives. St Augustine itself was captured in 1740. Their main food source was fish they found in rivers and animals they hunted.

The British and Spanish had been enemies for many decades. The conflicts in Spanish Florida were one part of a larger, global struggle. In the mid-1700s, invading Seminoles killed most of the remaining local Indians. Florida had about 3,000 Spaniards when Britain took control in 1763. Nearly all quickly left. Even though control was restored to Spain in 1783, Spain sent no more settlers or missionaries to Florida. The U.S. took possession in 1819.

he Puritans were a group of people who grew discontent in the Church of England and worked towards religious, moral and societal reforms. The writings and ideas of John Calvin, a leader in the Reformation, gave rise to Protestantism and were pivotal to the Christian revolt. They contended that The Church of England had become a product of political struggles and man-made doctrines. The Puritans were one branch of dissenters who decided that the Church of England was beyond reform. Escaping persecution from church leadership and the King, they came to America.

The Puritans believed that the Bible was God's true law, and that it provided a plan for living. The established church of the day described access to God as monastic and possible only within the confines of "church authority". Puritans stripped away the traditional trappings and formalities of Christianity which had been slowly building throughout the previous 1500 years. Theirs was an attempt to "purify" the church and their own lives.

What many of us remember about the Puritans is reflective of the modern definition of the term and not of the historical account. Point one, they were not a small group of people. In England many of their persuasion sat in Parliament. So great was the struggle that England's Civil War pitted the Puritans against the Crown Forces. Though the Puritans won the fight with Oliver Cromwell's leadership, their victory was short-lived; hence their displacement to America. Point two, the witchcraft trials did not appropriately define their methods of living for the 100+ years that they formed successful communities. What it did show was the danger that their self-imposed isolation had put them in.

Most of the Puritans settled in the New England area. As they immigrated and formed individual colonies, their numbers rose from 17,800 in 1640 to 106,000 in 1700. Religious exclusiveness was the foremost principle of their society. The spiritual beliefs that they held were strong. This strength held over to include community laws and customs. Since God was at the forefront of their minds, He was to motivate all of their actions. This premise worked both for them and against them.

The common unity strengthened the community. In a foreign land surrounded with the hardships of pioneer life, their spiritual bond made them sympathetic to each other's needs. Their overall survival techniques permeated the colonies and on the whole made them more successful in several areas beyond that of the colonies established to their south.

Each church congregation was to be individually responsible to God, as was each person. The New Testament was their model and their devotion so great that it permeated their entire society. People of opposing theological views were asked to leave the community or to be converted.

Their interpretation of scriptures was a harsh one. They emphasized a redemptive piety. In principle, they emphasized conversion and not repression. Conversion was a rejection of the "worldliness" of society and a strict adherence to Biblical principles. While repression was not encouraged in principle, it was evident in their actions. God could forgive anything, but man could forgive only by seeing a change in behavior. Actions spoke louder than words, so actions had to be constantly controlled.

The doctrine of predestination kept all Puritans constantly working to do good in this life to be chosen for the next eternal one. God had already chosen who would be in heaven or hell, and each believer had no way of knowing which group they were in. Those who were wealthy were obviously blessed by God and were in good standing with Him. The Protestant work ethic was the belief that hard work was an honor to God which would lead to a prosperous reward. Any deviations from the normal way of Puritan life met with strict disapproval and discipline. Since the church elders were also political leaders, any church infraction was also a social one. There was no margin for error.

The devil was behind every evil deed. Constant watch needed to be kept in order to stay away from his clutches. Words of hell fire and brimstone flowed from the mouths of eloquent ministers as they warned of the persuasiveness of the devil's power. The sermons of Jonathan Edwards, a Puritan minister, show that delivery of these sermons became an art form. They were elegant, well formed, exegetical renditions of scriptures... with a healthy dose of fear woven throughout the fabric of the literary construction. Grammar children were quizzed on the material at school and at home. This constant subjection of the probability of an unseen danger led to a scandal of epidemic proportions.

Great pains were taken to warn their members and especially their children of the dangers of the world. Religiously motivated, they were exceptional in their time for their interest in the education of their children. Reading of the Bible was necessary to living a pious life. The education of the next generation was important to further "purify" the church and perfect social living.

Three English diversions were banned in their New England colonies; drama, religious music and erotic poetry. The first and last of these led to immorality. Music in worship created a "dreamy" state which was not conducive in listening to God. Since the people were not spending their time idly indulged in trivialities, they were left with two godly diversions.

The Bible stimulated their corporate intellect by promoting discussions of literature. Greek classics of Cicero, Virgil, Terence and Ovid were taught, as well as poetry and Latin verse. They were encouraged to create their own poetry, always religious in content.

For the first time in history, free schooling was offered for all children. Puritans formed the first formal school in 1635, called the Roxbury Latin School. Four years later, the first American College was established; Harvard in Cambridge. Children aged 6-8 attended a "Dame school" where the teacher, who was usually a widow, taught reading. "Ciphering" (math) and writing were low on the academic agenda.

In 1638, the first printing press arrived. By 1700, Boston became the second largest publishing center of the English Empire. The Puritans were the first to write books for children, and to discuss the difficulties in communicating with them. At a time when other Americans were physically blazing trails through the forests, the Puritans efforts in areas of study were advancing our country intellectually.

Religion provided a stimulus and prelude for scientific thought. Of those Americans who were admitted into the scientific "Royal Society of London," the vast majority were New England Puritans.

The large number of people who ascribed to the lifestyle of the Puritans did much to firmly establish a presence on American soil. Bound together, they established a community that maintained a healthy economy, established a school system, and focused an efficient eye on political concerns. The moral character of England and America were shaped in part by the words and actions of this strong group of Christian believers called the Puritans.

A Puritan of 16th and 17th century England was an associate of any number of religious groups advocating for more "purity" of worship and doctrine, as well as personal and group piety. Puritans felt that the English Reformation had not gone far enough, and that the Church of England was tolerant of practices which they associated with the Church of Rome. The word "Puritan" was originally an alternate term for "Cathar" and was a pejorative term used to characterize them as extremists similar to the Cathari of France. The Puritans sometimes cooperated with presbyterians, who put forth a number of proposals for "further reformation" in order to keep the Church of England more closely in line with the Reformed Churches on the Continent.The Puritans' movement can be traced back to Edward VI, although the term "Puritan" was not coined until the 1560s, when it appears as a term of abuse for those who proposed further reforms than those adopted by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement of 1559. Throughout the reign of Elizabeth I, the Puritan movement involved both a political and a social component. Politically, the movement attempted, mostly unsuccessfully, to have Parliament pass legislation to replace episcopacy with presbyterianism, and to alter the 1559 Book of Common Prayer to remove elements considered odious by the Puritans. Socially, the Puritan movement called for a greater commitment to Jesus Christ for greater levels of personal holiness. By the end of Elizabeth's reign, the Puritans constituted a distinct social group within the Church of England who regarded themselves as the godly, and who held out little hope for their neighbours who remained attached to "popish superstitions" and worldliness. However, most Puritans were non-Separating Puritans who remained within the Church of England, and only a small number of Puritans became Separating Puritans or Separatists who left the Church of England altogether. Although the Puritan movement was occasionally subjected to suppression by the bishops of the Church of England, in many places, individual ministers were able to omit disliked portions of the Book of Common Prayer and to be especially attentive to the needs of the godly.

Conflicts with Anglican Church

The Church of England as a whole was Calvinist, as seen in the 39 Articles, the Anglican Homilies, and in John Calvin's correspondence with Edward VI and Thomas Cranmer. The Puritan movement was distinctive from the rest of the church in theology more prescriptive than Calvinism, in legalism, theonomy, and especially – congregationalism. Charles I became king and was determined to eliminate the "excesses" of Puritanism from the Church of England. His close advisor, William Laud, who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633, moved the Church of England away from Puritanism, rigorously enforcing the law against ministers who deviated from the Book of Common Prayer or who violated the ban on preaching about predestination.

Puritans opposed many of the traditions of the Church of England, notably the Book of Common Prayer, but also ceremonial rituals such as the use of priestly vestments (cap and gown) during services, the use of the Holy Cross during baptism, and kneeling during the sacrament.[1] Puritans rejected anything that was reminiscent of the Pope, and many of the Roman Catholic rituals preserved by the Church of England were not only considered to be objectionable, but were believed to put one's immortal soul in peril. While the Puritans under the rule of King James I of England attempted to make peaceful reform of the English church, James viewed their religious beliefs as little more than heresy, and their denial of the Divine Right of Kings as little more than treason. Nevertheless, the size of the Puritan population continued to grow under the reign of King James.

James I was succeeded by his son Charles I of England in 1625. In the year before becoming King, he married Henrietta-Marie de Bourbon of France, a zealous Roman Catholic. She was so extreme in her devotion to the Pope that she refused to attend the coronation of her husband, which took place in a non-Catholic cathedral.[2] She certainly had no tolerance for Puritans. At the same time, William Laud, at the time Bishop of London, was becoming increasingly powerful as an advisor to Charles. Laud also hated the Puritans and viewed them as a threat to the church. With the Queen and Laud among his closest advisors, Charles pursued policies to eliminate the religious practices of Puritans in England.

Charles relied largely on the Star Chamber and Court of High Commission to implement these policies. Although these institutions had existed for some time, Charles adapted them as instruments to persecute the Puritans. They were courts under the control of the King, not the Parliament, and were therefore capable of convicting and imprisoning people who had not violated any law passed by Parliament, but were nevertheless guilty of displeasing the King.[3]

As a result, a large number of Puritans were motivated to leave for the American colonies, resulting in the Great Migration, the founding the Massachusetts Bay Colony and other settlements. The Puritan movement in England allied itself with the cause of "England's ancient liberties"; the unpopularity of Laud and the suppression of Puritanism was a major factor leading to the English Civil War, during which the Puritans formed the backbone of the parliamentarian forces.

Fragmentation

The Puritan movement inside the Church began to fracture with the calling of the Westminster Assembly in 1643. Before that it had been associated with Presbyterians and others who sought further reforms in the Church of England; at the Westminster Assembly, it became necessary to work out the details. Doctrinally, the Assembly was able to agree to the Westminster Confession of Faith, and it provides a good overview of the Puritan theological position. Some Puritans would have rejected portions of it, e.g. the Baptists rejected its teaching on infant baptism. The Westminster Divines were, however, bitterly divided over questions of church polity, and split into factions supporting moderate episcopacy, presbyterianism, congregationalism, and Erastianism.

Although the Assembly eventually decided on presbyterianism, the fact that Oliver Cromwell was an Independent who favoured religious toleration meant that presbyterianism was not imposed on the Church of England. The result was that the English Interregnum was a period of religious diversity and experimentation. At the time of the English Restoration (1660), the Church of England was also restored to its pre-Civil War constitution and the Puritans were again forced out of the Church of England, in the Great Ejection of 1662. At this point, the term Dissenter replaces "Puritan". It more accurately describes those who "dissented" from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

Now outside the Church of England, the Dissenters established their own denominations in the 1660s and 1670s. The government initially attempted to suppress these organizations by the Clarendon Code. The Whigs argued that the Dissenters should be allowed to worship outside of the Church of England, and this position ultimately prevailed when the Toleration Act was passed in the wake of the Glorious Revolution (1689). As a result, a number of denominations were legally organized in the 1690s. The term Nonconformist generally replaced the term "Dissenter" from the middle of the eighteenth century.

Terminology

Originally used to describe a third-century sect of strictly legalistic heretics, the word "Puritan" is now applied unevenly to a number of Protestant churches (and religious groups within the Anglican Church) from the late 16th century to the present. Puritans did not originally use the term for themselves. It was a term of abuse that first surfaced in the 1560s. "Precisemen" and "Precisions" were other early antagonistic terms for Puritans who preferred to call themselves "the godly." The word "Puritan" thus always referred to a type of religious belief, rather than a particular religious sect. To reflect that the term encompasses a variety of ecclesiastical bodies and theological positions, scholars today increasingly prefer to use the term as a common noun or adjective: "puritan" rather than "Puritan."[citation needed]

The single theological momentum most consistently defined by the term "Puritan" was Reformed or Calvinist and led to the founding of the Presbyterian, Baptist, and Independent or Congregationalist churches;[citation needed] In the United States, the church and religious culture of the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony formed the basis of post-colonial American Congregationalism, specifically the Congregational Church proper. The term Puritan was used by the group itself mainly in the 16th century, though it seems to have been used often and, in its earliest recorded instances, as a term of abuse. By the middle of the 17th century, the group had become so divided that "Puritan" was most often used by opponents and detractors of the group, rather than by the practitioners themselves. As Patrick Collinson has noted, well before the founding of the New England settlement, “Puritanism had no content beyond what was attributed to it by its opponents.”[4] The practitioners knew themselves as members of particular churches or movements, and not by the simple term.

Puritans who felt that the Reformation of the Church of England had not gone far enough but who remained within the Church of England advocating further reforms are known as non-separating Puritans. (The Non-Separating Puritans differed among themselves about how much further reformation was necessary.) Those who felt that the Church of England was so corrupt that true Christians should separate from it altogether are known as separating Puritans or simply as Separatists. Especially after the Restoration (1660), non-separating Puritans were called Nonconformists (for their failure to conform to the Book of Common Prayer) while separating Puritans were called Dissenters.

The term "puritan" is not normally used to describe any religious group after the 17th century, although several groups might be called "puritan" because their origins lay in the Puritan movement. For example, in the late seventeenth century, those Dissenters who had separated from the Church of England organized themselves into separate denominations (Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists), particularly after the Act of Toleration of 1689 made it legal to worship outside the Church of England. The non-separating Puritans who remained within the Church of England had by the early eighteenth century come to be known as the Low Church wing of the Church of England.

The term "puritan" might be used by analogy (usually unfavorably) to describe any group that shares a commitment to the Puritans' strong commitment to the purity of worship, of doctrine, or of personal or group morality.

Beliefs Calvinism John Calvin [show]Background

   * Christianity
   * St. Augustine
   * The Reformation
   * Five Solas
   * Synod of Dort

[show]Distinctives

   * Five Points (TULIP)
   * Covenant Theology
   * Regulative principle

[show]Documents

   * Calvin's Institutes
   * Confessions of faith
   * Geneva Bible

[show]Influences

   * Theodore Beza
   * John Knox
   * Huldrych Zwingli
   * Jonathan Edwards
   * Princeton theologians

[show]Churches

   * Reformed
   * Presbyterian
   * Congregationalist
   * Reformed Baptist
   * Low church Anglican

[show]Peoples

   * Afrikaners
   * Huguenots
   * Pilgrims
   * Puritans
   * Scots
Calvinism portal 	

v • d • e

The central tenet of Puritanism was God's supreme authority over human affairs, particularly in the church, and especially as expressed in the Bible. This view led them to seek both individual and corporate conformance to the teaching of the Bible. It led them to pursue both moral purity down to the smallest detail as well as ecclesiastical purity to the highest level.

The words of the Bible were the origin of many Puritan cultural ideals, especially regarding the roles of men and women in the community. While both sexes carried the stain of original sin, for a girl, original sin suggested more than the roster of Puritan character flaws. Eve’s corruption, in Puritan eyes, extended to all women, and justified marginalizing them within churches' hierarchical structures. An example is the different ways that men and women were made to express their conversion experiences. For full membership, the Puritan church insisted not only that its congregants lead godly lives and exhibit a clear understanding of the main tenets of their Christian faith, but they also must demonstrate that they had experienced true evidence of the workings of God’s grace in their souls. Only those who gave a convincing account of such a conversion could be admitted to full church membership. Women were not permitted to speak in church after 1636 (although they were allowed to engage in religious discussions outside of it, in various women-only meetings), and thus could not narrate their conversions.

On the individual level, the Puritans emphasized that each person should be continually reformed by the grace of God to fight against indwelling sin and do what is right before God. A humble and obedient life would arise for every Christian. Puritan culture emphasized the need for self-examination and the strict accounting for one’s feelings as well as one’s deeds. This was the center of evangelical experience, which women in turn placed at the heart of their work to sustain family life.

The Puritans tended to admire the early church fathers and quoted them liberally in their works. In addition to arming the Puritans to fight against later developments of the Roman Catholic tradition, these studies also led to the rediscovery of some ancient scruples. Chrysostom, a favorite of the Puritans, spoke eloquently against drama and other worldly endeavors, and the Puritans adopted his view when decrying what they saw as the decadent culture of England, famous at that time for its plays and bawdy London entertainments. The Pilgrims (the separatist, congregationalist Puritans who went to North America) are likewise famous for banning from their New England colonies many secular entertainments, such as games of chance, maypoles, and drama, all of which were perceived as kinds of immorality.

At the level of the church body, the Puritans believed that the worship in the church ought to be strictly regulated by what is commanded in the Bible (known as the regulative principle of worship). The Puritans condemned as idolatry many worship practices regardless of the practices' antiquity or widespread adoption among Christians, which their opponents defended with tradition. Like some of Reformed churches on the European continent, Puritan reforms were typified by a minimum of ritual and decoration and by an unambiguous emphasis on preaching. Like the early church fathers, they eliminated the use of musical instruments in their worship services, for various theological and practical reasons. Outside of church, however, Puritans were quite fond of music and encouraged it in certain ways.

Another important distinction was the Puritan approach to church-state relations. They opposed the Anglican idea of the supremacy of the monarch in the church (Erastianism), and, following Calvin, they argued that the only head of the Church in heaven or earth is Christ (not the Pope or the monarch). However, they believed that secular governors are accountable to God (not through the church, but alongside it) to protect and reward virtue, including "true religion", and to punish wrongdoers — a policy that is best described as non-interference rather than separation of church and state. The separating Congregationalists, a segment of the Puritan movement more radical than the Anglican Puritans, believed the Divine Right of Kings was heresy, a belief that became more pronounced during the reign of Charles I of England.

Other notable beliefs include:

   * An emphasis on private study of the Bible
   * A desire to see education and enlightenment for the masses (especially so they could read the Bible for themselves)
   * The priesthood of all believers
   * Simplicity in worship, the exclusion of vestments, images, candles, etc.
   * Did not celebrate traditional holidays which they believed to be in violation of the regulative principle of worship.
   * Believed the Sabbath was still obligatory for Christians, although they believed the Sabbath had been changed to Sunday
   * Some approved of the church hierarchy, but others sought to reform the episcopal churches on the presbyterian model. Some separatist Puritans were presbyterian, but most were congregationalists.

In addition to promoting lay education, Puritans wanted to have knowledgeable, educated pastors, who could read the Bible in its original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, as well as ancient and modern church tradition and scholarly works, which were most commonly written in Latin. Most of their divines undertook rigorous studies at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge before seeking ordination. Diversions for the educated included discussing the Bible and its practical applications as well as reading the classics such as Cicero, Virgil, and Ovid. They also encouraged the composition of poetry that was of a religious nature, though they eschewed religious-erotic poetry except for the "Song of Solomon". This they considered magnificent poetry, without error, regulative for their sexual pleasure, and, especially, as an allegory of Christ and the Church.

In modern usage, the word puritan is often used to describe someone who has strict views on sexual morality, disapproves of recreation, and wishes to impose these beliefs on others. None of these qualities were unique to Puritanism or universally characteristic of the Puritans themselves, whose moral views and ascetic tendencies were no more unusual than those of many other Protestant reformers of their time. They were relatively tolerant of other denominations, at least in England. The popular image is slightly more accurate as a description of Puritans in colonial America, who were among the most radical Puritans and whose social experiment took the form of a Calvinist theocracy. Puritans believed Satan was of the netherworld.

Family life

According to Puritan belief, if God had created the world with some beings subordinate to others, he would apply the same principles to his construction of human society. Thus the Puritans honored hierarchy among men as divine order; this order presupposed God’s “appointment of mankind to live in Societies, first, of Family, Secondly Church, Thirdly, Common-wealth.” Order in the family, then, fundamentally structured Puritan belief. Puritans usually migrated to New England as a family unit, a pattern different from other colonies where young, single men often came on their own. Puritan men of the generation of the Great Migration (1630–1640) believed that a good Puritan wife did not linger in Britain but encouraged her husband in his great service to God.

The essence of social order lay in the authority of husband over wife, parents over children, and masters over servants in the family. Puritan marriage choices were influenced by young people’s inclination, by parents, and by the social rank of the persons involved. Upon finding a suitable match, husband and wife in America followed the steps needed to legitimize their marriage, including: 1) a contract, comparable to today’s practice of engagement; 2) the announcement of this contract; 3) execution of the contract at a church; 4) a celebration of the event at the home of the groom and 5) sexual intercourse. Problems with consummation could terminate a marriage: if a groom proved impotent, the contract between him and his bride dissolved, an act enforced by the courts. The courts could also enforce the duty of a husband to support his wife, as English Common Law provided that when a woman married, she gave all her property to her husband and became a feme covert, losing her separate civil identity in his. In so doing, she legally accepted her role as managing her husband’s household, fulfilling her duty of “keep[ing] at home, educating her children, keeping and improving what is got by the industry of man.”

Although without property in New England, a wife in some ways had real authority in the family, although hers derived from different sources from her husband’s, and she exercised it in different ways. Because the laws of God explicitly informed the earliest laws of the Massachusetts civil code, a husband could not legally command his wife anything contrary to God’s word. Indeed, God’s word often prescribed important roles of authority for women; the Complete Body of Divinity stated that “…as to Servants, the Metaphorical and Synecdochial usage of the words Father and Mother, heretofore observed, implys it; for tho’ the Husband be the Head of the Wife, yet she is an Head of the Family.” Adhering to this ideology, Samuel Sewall, a magistrate, advised his son’s servant that “he could not obey his Master without obedience to his Mistress; and vice versa.” For the Puritans, ideas of proper order both sharply defined and confined a woman’s authority.

In Puritan New England, the family was the fundamental unit of society, the place where Puritans rehearsed and perfected religious, ethical, and social values and expectations of the community at large. The English Puritan William Gouge wrote: “…a familie is a little Church, and a little common-wealth, at least a lively representation thereof, whereby triall may be made of such as are fit for any place of authoritie, or of subjection in Church or commonwealth. Or rather it is as a schoole wherein the first principles and grounds of government and subjection are learned: whereby men are fitted to greater matters in Church or common-wealth.”

The relationships within the nuclear family, along with interactions between the family and the larger community, distinguished Puritans from other early settlers. Authority and obedience characterized the relationship between Puritan parents and their children. Proper love meant proper discipline; in a society essentially without police, the family was the basic unit of supervision. Disciplining disobedient children mostly derived from a spiritual concern: a breakdown in family rule indicated a disregard of God’s order. “Fathers and mothers have ‘disordered and disobedient children,’” said the Puritan Richard Greenham, “because they have been disobedient children to the Lord and disordered to their parents when they were young.” Thus disobedient parents meant disobedient children. Because the duty of early childcare fell almost exclusively on women, a woman’s salvation necessarily depended upon the observable goodness of her child.

Puritans connected the discipline of a child to later readiness for conversion. Accordingly, parents attempted to check their affectionate feelings toward a disobedient child, at least after the child was about two years old, in order to break his or her will. This suspicious regard of “fondness” and heavy emphasis on obedience placed complex pressures on the Puritan mother. While Puritans expected mothers to care for their young children tenderly, a mother who doted could be accused of failing to keep God present. Furthermore, Puritan belief prescribed that a father’s more distant governance check the mother’s tenderness once a male child reached the age of 6 or 7 so that he could bring the child to God’s authority.

The home gave women the freedom to exercise religious and moral authority, performing duties not open to them in public. (After the banishment of Anne Hutchinson, most congregations did not permit women to speak in church). The Puritan family structure at once encouraged some measure of female authority while supporting family patriarchy.

Education

As John Winthrop sailed toward New England in 1630, he exhorted his fellow passengers that the society they would form in New England would be "as a city upon a hill”,[5] and that they must become a pure community of Christians who would set an example to the rest of the world. To achieve this goal, the colony leaders would educate all Puritans. These men of letters, who viewed themselves as a part of an international world, had attended Oxford or Cambridge and could communicate with intellectuals all over Europe. Just six years after the first large migration, colony leaders founded Harvard College.

By the 1670s, all New England colonies (excepting Rhode Island) had passed legislation that mandated literacy for children. In 1647, Massachusetts passed a law that required towns to hire a schoolmaster to teach writing. Different forms of schooling emerged, ranging from the “dame” or “reading” school, a form of instruction conducted by women in their private homes for small children, to “Latin” schools for boys already literate in English and ready to master grammar through Latin, Hebrew, and Greek. Reading schools would often be the single source of education for girls, whereas boys would leave their reading mistresses to go to the town grammar schools. Indeed, gender largely determined educational practices. Women introduced all children to reading, and men taught boys in higher pursuits. Since girls could play no role in the ministry, and since grammar schools were designed to “instruct youth so far as they may be fited for the university,” Latin grammar schools did not accept girls (nor did Harvard). Evidence mostly suggests that girls could not attend even the less ambitious town schools, the lower-tier writing-reading schools mandated for townships of over fifty families.

The motive to educate was largely religious. In order for Puritans to become holy, they needed to read the Scriptures. As the articles of faith of 1549 had proclaimed, “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation”. Although reading the Bible did not guarantee conversion, it laid its groundwork, and a good Puritan’s duty was to search out scriptural truth for oneself.

Social motives for mandating reading instruction grew out of a concern that children not taught to read would grow “barbarous”; the 1648 amendment to the Massachusetts law and the 1650 Connecticut code, both used the word “barbarisme”. Further, children needed to read in order to “understand…the capital laws of this country,” as the Massachusetts law declared. Order was of the utmost importance for the Puritan community, a group trying to make a home in a new wilderness and create a perfected society from scratch.

The emphasis on education in Puritan New England differed significantly from other regions of colonial America. The founding fathers established New England in pursuit of a model of Christian living, fueling strong motivations for literary instruction. But New England also differed from its mother country, as nothing in English statute required schoolmasters or the literacy of children. Indeed, with the possible exception of Scotland, the Puritan model of education did not exist anywhere else in the world.

The Puritan spirit in the United States Window, Old Ship Church, Puritan meetinghouse, Hingham, Massachusetts

Some anarchists have suggested that it is a "Puritan spirit" in the United States' political culture that creates a tendency to oppose things such as alcohol and open sexuality.[6] However, the Puritans were not opposed to drinking alcohol in moderation[7] or to enjoying their sexuality within the bounds of marriage as a gift from God.[8] In fact, spouses (albeit, in practice, mainly females) were disciplined if they did not perform their sexual marital duties, in accordance with 1 Corinthians 7 and other biblical passages. Because of these beliefs, the Puritans publicly punished drunkenness and sexual relations outside of marriage.

Puritan laws in fact regarded alcohol as a gift of God and demonstrated the subtle difference between a government's responsibility to punish sin versus its action to remove temptation. Early New England laws banning the sale of alcohol to Indians were criticized because it was “not fit to deprive Indians of any lawfull comfort aloweth to all men by the use of wine.” One reason for laws banning the practice of individuals toasting each other was that it led to wasting God's gift of beer and wine.

Alexis de Tocqueville suggested in Democracy in America that the Pilgrims' Puritanism was the very thing that provided a firm foundation for American democracy, and in his view, these Puritans were hard-working, egalitarian, and studious. The theme of a religious basis of economic discipline is echoed in sociologist Max Weber's work, but both de Tocqueville and Weber argued that this discipline was not a force of economic determinism, but one factor among many that should be considered when evaluating the relative economic success of the Puritans. In Hellfire Nation, James A. Morone suggests that some opposing tendencies within Puritanism—its desire to create a just society and its moral fervor in bringing about that just society, which sometimes created paranoia and intolerance for other views—are at the root of America's current political landscape.[9]

Orthography

In the United States, "Puritan" has not always been the only acceptable spelling. Through the 20th century, "Puritain" was an acceptable alternative spelling in British English. During the 17th and 18th centuries in England, the word was spelled both with and without the second i. "Puritain" was more common in the 16th century. The word derives from "purity" in English, and the suffix meaning "dweller" or "practitioner" can be spelled -ain or -an, depending upon the language.

See also Calvinism portal Christianity portal History portal

 Family life

According to Puritan belief, if God had created the world with some beings subordinate to others, he would apply the same principles to his construction of human society. Thus the Puritans honored hierarchy among men as divine order; this order presupposed God’s “appointment of mankind to live in Societies, first, of Family, Secondly Church, Thirdly, Common-wealth.” Order in the family, then, fundamentally structured Puritan belief. Puritans usually migrated to New England as a family unit, a pattern different from other colonies where young, single men often came on their own. Puritan men of the generation of the Great Migration (1630–1640) believed that a good Puritan wife did not linger in Britain but encouraged her husband in his great service to God.

The essence of social order lay in the authority of husband over wife, parents over children, and masters over servants in the family. Puritan marriage choices were influenced by young people’s inclination, by parents, and by the social rank of the persons involved. Upon finding a suitable match, husband and wife in America followed the steps needed to legitimize their marriage, including: 1) a contract, comparable to today’s practice of engagement; 2) the announcement of this contract; 3) execution of the contract at a church; 4) a celebration of the event at the home of the groom and 5) sexual intercourse. Problems with consummation could terminate a marriage: if a groom proved impotent, the contract between him and his bride dissolved, an act enforced by the courts. The courts could also enforce the duty of a husband to support his wife, as English Common Law provided that when a woman married, she gave all her property to her husband and became a feme covert, losing her separate civil identity in his. In so doing, she legally accepted her role as managing her husband’s household, fulfilling her duty of “keep[ing] at home, educating her children, keeping and improving what is got by the industry of man.”

Although without property in New England, a wife in some ways had real authority in the family, although hers derived from different sources from her husband’s, and she exercised it in different ways. Because the laws of God explicitly informed the earliest laws of the Massachusetts civil code, a husband could not legally command his wife anything contrary to God’s word. Indeed, God’s word often prescribed important roles of authority for women; the Complete Body of Divinity stated that “…as to Servants, the Metaphorical and Synecdochial usage of the words Father and Mother, heretofore observed, implys it; for tho’ the Husband be the Head of the Wife, yet she is an Head of the Family.” Adhering to this ideology, Samuel Sewall, a magistrate, advised his son’s servant that “he could not obey his Master without obedience to his Mistress; and vice versa.” For the Puritans, ideas of proper order both sharply defined and confined a woman’s authority.

In Puritan New England, the family was the fundamental unit of society, the place where Puritans rehearsed and perfected religious, ethical, and social values and expectations of the community at large. The English Puritan William Gouge wrote: “…a familie is a little Church, and a little common-wealth, at least a lively representation thereof, whereby triall may be made of such as are fit for any place of authoritie, or of subjection in Church or commonwealth. Or rather it is as a schoole wherein the first principles and grounds of government and subjection are learned: whereby men are fitted to greater matters in Church or common-wealth.”

The relationships within the nuclear family, along with interactions between the family and the larger community, distinguished Puritans from other early settlers. Authority and obedience characterized the relationship between Puritan parents and their children. Proper love meant proper discipline; in a society essentially without police, the family was the basic unit of supervision. Disciplining disobedient children mostly derived from a spiritual concern: a breakdown in family rule indicated a disregard of God’s order. “Fathers and mothers have ‘disordered and disobedient children,’” said the Puritan Richard Greenham, “because they have been disobedient children to the Lord and disordered to their parents when they were young.” Thus disobedient parents meant disobedient children. Because the duty of early childcare fell almost exclusively on women, a woman’s salvation necessarily depended upon the observable goodness of her child.

Puritans connected the discipline of a child to later readiness for conversion. Accordingly, parents attempted to check their affectionate feelings toward a disobedient child, at least after the child was about two years

old, in order to break his or her will. This suspicious regard of “fondness” and heavy emphasis on obedience placed complex pressures on the Puritan mother. While Puritans expected mothers to care for their young children tenderly, a mother who doted could be accused of failing to keep God present. Furthermore, Puritan belief prescribed that a father’s more distant governance check the mother’s tenderness once a male child reached the age of 6 or 7 so that he could bring the child to God’s authority.

The home gave women the freedom to exercise religious and moral authority, performing duties not open to them in public. (After the banishment of Anne Hutchinson, most congregations did not permit women to speak in church). The Puritan family structure at once encouraged some measure of female authority while supporting family patriarchy.

Education

As John Winthrop sailed toward New England in 1630, he exhorted his fellow passengers that the society they would form in New England would be "as a city upon a hill”,[5] and that they must become a pure community of Christians who would set an example to the rest of the world. To achieve this goal, the colony leaders would educate all Puritans. These men of letters, who viewed themselves as a part of an international world, had attended Oxford or Cambridge and could communicate with intellectuals all over Europe. Just six years after the first large migration, colony leaders founded Harvard College.

By the 1670s, all New England colonies (excepting Rhode Island) had passed legislation that mandated literacy for children. In 1647, Massachusetts passed a law that required towns to hire a schoolmaster to teach writing. Different forms of schooling emerged, ranging from the “dame” or “reading” school, a form of instruction conducted by women in their private homes for small children, to “Latin” schools for boys already literate in English and ready to master grammar through Latin, Hebrew, and Greek. Reading schools would often be the single source of education for girls, whereas boys would leave their reading mistresses to go to the town grammar schools. Indeed, gender largely determined educational practices. Women introduced all children to reading, and men taught boys in higher pursuits. Since girls could play no role in the ministry, and since grammar schools were designed to “instruct youth so far as they may be fited for the university,” Latin grammar schools did not accept girls (nor did Harvard). Evidence mostly suggests that girls could not attend even the less ambitious town schools, the lower-tier writing-reading schools mandated for townships of over fifty families.

The motive to educate was largely religious. In order for Puritans to become holy, they needed to read the Scriptures. As the articles of faith of 1549 had proclaimed, “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation”. Although reading the Bible did not guarantee conversion, it laid its groundwork, and a good Puritan’s duty was to search out scriptural truth for oneself.

Social motives for mandating reading instruction grew out of a concern that children not taught to read would grow “barbarous”; the 1648 amendment to the Massachusetts law and the 1650 Connecticut code, both used the word “barbarisme”. Further, children needed to read in order to “understand…the capital laws of this country,” as the Massachusetts law declared. Order was of the utmost importance for the Puritan community, a group trying to make a home in a new wilderness and create a perfected society from scratch.

The emphasis on education in Puritan New England differed significantly from other regions of colonial America. The founding fathers established New England in pursuit of a model of Christian living, fueling strong motivations for literary instruction. But New England also differed from its mother country, as nothing in English statute required schoolmasters or the literacy of children. Indeed, with the possible exception of Scotland, the Puritan model of education did not exist anywhere else in the world.

The Puritan spirit in the United States Window, Old Ship Church, Puritan meetinghouse, Hingham, Massachusetts

Some anarchists have suggested that it is a "Puritan spirit" in the United States' political culture that creates a tendency to oppose things such as alcohol and open sexuality.[6] However, the Puritans were not opposed to drinking alcohol in moderation[7] or to enjoying their sexuality within the bounds of marriage as a gift from God.[8] In fact, spouses (albeit, in practice, mainly females) were disciplined if they did not perform their sexual marital duties, in accordance with 1 Corinthians 7 and other biblical passages. Because of these beliefs, the Puritans publicly punished drunkenness and sexual relations outside of marriage.

Puritan laws in fact regarded alcohol as a gift of God and demonstrated the subtle difference between a government's responsibility to punish sin versus its action to remove temptation. Early New England laws banning the sale of alcohol to Indians were criticized because it was “not fit to deprive Indians of any lawfull comfort aloweth to all men by the use of wine.” One reason for laws banning the practice of individuals toasting each other was that it led to wasting God's gift of beer and wine.

Alexis de Tocqueville suggested in Democracy in America that the Pilgrims' Puritanism was the very thing that provided a firm foundation for American democracy, and in his view, these Puritans were hard-working, egalitarian, and studious. The theme of a religious basis of economic discipline is echoed in sociologist Max Weber's work, but both de Tocqueville and Weber argued that this discipline was not a force of economic determinism, but one factor among many that should be considered when evaluating the relative economic success of the Puritans. In Hellfire Nation, James A. Morone suggests that some opposing tendencies within Puritanism—its desire to create a just society and its moral fervor in bringing about that just society, which sometimes created paranoia and intolerance for other views—are at the root of America's current political landscape.[9]

Several beliefs differentiated Puritans from other Christians. The first was their belief in predestination. Puritans believed that belief in Jesus and participation in the sacraments could not alone effect one's salvation; one cannot choose salvation, for that is the privilege of God alone. All features of salvation are determined by God's sovereignty, including choosing those who will be saved and those who will receive God's irresistible grace. The Puritans distinguished between "justification," or the gift of God's grace given to the elect, and "sanctification," the holy behavior that supposedly resulted when an individual had been saved; according to The English Literatures of America, "Sanctification is evidence of salvation, but does not cause it" (434). When William Laud, an avowed Arminian, became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633, the Church of England began to embrace beliefs abhorrent to Puritans: a focus on the individual's acceptance or rejection of grace; a toleration of diverse religious beliefs; and an acceptance of "high church" rituals and symbols.

According to Samuel Eliot Morison's Oxford History of the American People, the Puritans "were deeply impressed by a story that their favorite church father, St. Augustine, told in his Confessions. He heard a voice saying, tolle et lege, 'Pick up and read.' Opening the Bible, his eyes lit on Romans xiii:12-14: 'The night is far spent, the day is at hand; not in carousing and drunkenness, not in debauchery and lust, not in strife and jealousy. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts therof'" (62)

Also on Fandom

Random wikia