Classified in History

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The Puritans

They were radical Calvinist who believed that the Church of England had betrayed the spirit of the Reformation.

The Puritans entered in conflict with Elizabeth I when they demanded more reformation in England.

For the Queen, the national church should be subordinated to royal purposes.

The Church of England should be the church of all Englishmen.

Escaped English persecution by emigrating to Holland.

In 1620 planned their escape to America (they bought a small ship, Speedwell, that proved unsatisfactory for sea travel)

On 16 September 1620 finally sailed on the Mayflower from Plymouth.

Three Puritan Principles

They wished to have their feelings changed through God’s Grace. They wanted to be cleansed of envy, vanity, and lust.

They valued plainness and simplicity.

They saw their bringing Christianity to America as a divine mission.

Puritan terms and influences

From Calvin: Predestination: the idea that God has willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others.

The Puritans believed that the accumulation of wealth through hard and honest work was a sign of being “elected” to go to heaven.

The Puritans

The Bible as a central hermeneutical tool

Recast their voyage to America in Biblical terms (from the Book of Exodus): They were the new Jews, the “chosen people”

The notion of the “Divine Providence” as central to Puritan beliefs (articulated in John Winthrop’s famous sermon in 1630)

Self-governing communities gathered around a congregation

In theory upheld religious freedom from external state control

In practice, a theocratic society, with the clergy ruling over legal, political and moral matters

Two Important New England Settlements

1) The Plymouth Colony (1620) (settlers known as Pilgrims)

Leader: William Bradford

Provided religious freedom, with ties to the British crown

2) The Massachusetts Bay Colony (1630)

Leader: John Winthrop

Established a theocracy, free of ties to Great Britain

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