Midterm

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1) Who were the Puritans and how did Puritans organize their local communities? Why did the religious fervor of New England Puritans decline after 1660? How did the Salem witch episode reflect the tensions and changes in seventeenth-century New England life and thought? The Puritans were a group of people who grew discontent in the Church of England that had a profound influence on the social, political, ethical, and theological ideas of England and America. Puritans immigrated to the New World, where they sought to found a holy commonwealth in New England. Although the Puritans wanted to reform the world to conform to God's law, they did not set up a church-run state. Even though they believed that the primary purpose of government was to punish breaches of God's laws, few people were as committed as the Puritans to the separation of church and state. Not only did they reject the idea of establishing a system of church courts, they also forbade ministers from holding public office. Puritans were mainly concerned with religious matters, rather than politics or social matters. Puritans also lost their power in politics. In future Puritans would no longer be allowed to become members of the House of Commons or local counselors. They were also excluded from universities and from teaching in schools. Strict censorship was also imposed on books. All books dealing with history, science or philosophy had to be checked by the government and the leaders of the church before they were published. The Salem Witch Trials were a notorious episode in New England colonial history that led to the execution of 14 women and 6 men, in 1692, for charges of witchcraft. The trials began as a result of the bizarre and inexplicable behavior of two young girls, afflicted by violent convulsions and strange fits that seemingly rendered them unable to hear, speak, or see. After a medical examination and a review by Puritan clergy, the girls were judged to be victims of witchcraft. In the ensuing hysteria during the summer of 1692, nearly 200 people were accused of witchcraft and imprisoned. The central characters of the Salem witchcraft episode are the so-called "afflicted children" responsible for most of the accusations and much of the spectral evidence testimony presented against the victims. They are often referred to as children because with the exception of two individuals this entire group was under the age of twenty at the time the episode began. The Salem Witch Trials demonstrated the weakness of a judicial system that relied on hearsay testimony and encouraged accusations, while providing no adequate means of rebuttal.

2) Identify the basic beliefs and assumptions of the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening. How did these two movements affect colonial development? How did the American colonies move from loyalty to protest to rebellion in the twelve years following the end of the French and Indian War? The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement that began in Europe during the seventeenth century, and stressed the values of humanism and rationality over divine principles. Enlightment intellectual bases of dissent 1763: turning point up to that time had salutary neglect, and no longer happy with the colonists at same time intellectually, the Americans start to question relationship with Great Britain Before this era, people’s knowledge on politics was based on perception of god In Europe: the Enlightenment; tells you that reason is important, think for yourself reason, science don’t just accept things, but question itself evident natural law that tells you what is right and what’s wrong; use inquiries to think for them Colonials will question the British and question it Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin question it. Franklin went off on ministers was an atheist Clergy and ministers are shocked and got run out of town Evident that all men are created equal Religious basis for descent at same time Enlightenment is liberal;...
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