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The Puritans

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 9 months, 1 week ago


New England Puritans

"We shall build a city upon a hill"

John Winthrop



1607 vs 1620






Who were the Puritans? 

 The Puritans were refugees church. Their thinking was dominated by the word covenant, one a covenant between God and church and the other between the governed and the government.


Why did the leave England? 



Turmoil in England  resulted in 20,000 more immigrants coming to New England (60,000-80,000 emigrants scattered throughout North America & West Indies).   Deliberate dissent = treason!!












John Winthrop - Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony

NOTES on page #12



Covenant Theology: Winthrop believed Puritans had a covenant with God  to lead new religious experiment in New World   "We shall build a city upon a hill"


Under the authority of a legislative assemble in New England the Puritans were able to freely construct the kind of church and society that they believed conformed to the Calvinist vision.



Religion and Politics in Puritan Massachusetts


Religion and politics in the "Massachusetts Bible Commonwealth"The church and state were a single combined institution, and those opposing the Puritan’s religious beliefs were not tolerated. (banished, jailed, or executed.) 



Eventually, Puritan churches grew collectively into the Congregational Church, or  Churches practicing Congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs.


Non-religious men and all women could NOT vote.


Townhall meetings - all male property holders and at times other residents to vote and publicly discuss issues. Majority-rule show of hands.



Protest work Ethic  A concept  which emphasizes that hard work, discipline and frugality -  "Idle hands are the devil's workshop"





Essay prompt "In what ways did ideas and values held by the Puritans influence the political, economic and social  development of the New England colonies from 1630 through the 1660's." 




Praying towns were developed by the Puritans of New England from 1646 to 1675 in an effort to convert the local Native American tribes to Christianity. The Natives who moved into these towns were known as Praying Indians.   New Spain and Missionary Work




Unlike the early Chesapeake settlers, the Puritans migrated to America as family units


The Puritans lived in compact villages clustered  around a community meeting house where they met to discuss local issues.


The Puritans established a patriarchal society in which women and children played a subordinate role to men.


The Puritans valued education as a means to read and understand the Bible. They required each community of 50 or more families to provide a teacher of reading and writing. Harvard College was founded in 1636 to train ministers.


The devout Puritans embraced a more rigorous faith than the Chesapeake settlers. The typical Puritan community was characterized by close relationships between Church and State.


Puritan leaders enforced a strict code of moral conduct. For example, communities in colonial New England banned the theatre.










The Seduction of growth in the Massachusetts Bay Colony  (Cod vs. God?)

In 1691, the small Plymouth colony of 7,000 people merged with Massachusetts Bay Colony.  The king had refused to grant Pilgrims a legal charter for Plymouth Plantation.


Gradually as the New England colonies experience economic growth and prosperity they were pulled in the same direction as the Southern colonies. After 1700 commercial success made Boston a thriving town of merchants.


Economic Activity: Massachusetts became biggest and most influential of New England colonies.  Fishing, shipbuilding, fur trade, lumbering; some dairy farming, and  farming wheat & corn. 


"My Fathers and Brethren, this is never to be forgotten that New England is originally a plantation of Religion, not a Plantation of Trade.

Let merchants and such as are increasing Cent per Cent remember this. . . . that worldly gain was not the end and designe of the people of New England, but Religion."   


 John Higginson,

“The Cause of God and His People in New England,” 1662.








DemographicsNew England represented a different demographic cross sections. They attempted to organize themselves as a communally as possible to maintain moral oversight




Puritan prompts





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