Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies
The Reformation was the driving force behind English Catholic dissenters, many of which would eventually form the base of groups heading for new lands to find religious freedom. These people would come to be called Puritans and their goal was to purify the Church of England. They wanted to do away with the “offensive” features such as Church hierarchy and traditional rituals of Catholic worship in order to promote a relationship between the individual and his relationship with God. Through English rulers King Henry the VIII to Elisabeth I to King James, the Puritans never really found a strong foothold for their practices. When King James’ son, Charles I came into power, a ruler that was strongly anti-Puritan and enforced conformity to the Church of England, Puritans began making plans to escape the persecution in England for the new world where they hoped to build new colonies to practice their faiths. Two of these groups, one to land at Plymouth and another to arrive at Massachusetts Bay, were prime examples of Puritans seeking to find a new life outside of England (or more specifically, the Church of England.) Not surprisingly, religious beliefs are one area where both colonies share a few similarities, but exhibit greater differences. Both groups left England because of their dissatisfaction in the Church; however Plymouth’s inhabitants held a more extreme mindset than the Massachusetts Bay colonists. After a stint in Holland, where they first tried to live in accordance with their beliefs, they went on to America and came to be known as Separatists, due to their belief that the Church of England was hopelessly corrupt and they wanted no part of it. The Separatists sought to withdraw entirely from the Church, where they could start new, better protect their children’s relationships with God, and preserve their community the way they saw fit. Bradford, governor of Plymouth, and author of “History of Plymouth...
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