Puritans and Pilgrims Comparison

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Puritans and Pilgrims
A Comparison

The Puritans and Pilgrims both stem from a Protestant movement in England in the 16th Century. In 1534, King Henry VIII sought an annulment of his marriage but his request is rejected by the pope. King Henry is not satisfied with this, and declares a new “Church of England” with himself as the head. During this period in English History, many civil and religious laws are at the whim of the monarchy. In 1553, Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII, becomes Queen and reinstates Catholicism as the religion of England. This begins the often bloody persecution of the numerous Protestants in the region. The religious intolerance forces many people to flee England with some finding refuge in Calvinist Holland. Protestantism is already well established in some parts of Europe. This Reformation has been brought on by the teachings of Martin Luther and John Calvin. The simple teachings and practices of Calvinism are widely accepted by the English refugees in Holland, but the change to their English culture is not. When Queen Elizabeth I, a Protestant, is crowned in 1558, she reinstates the Church of England as the national religion. Many of the English living in Holland see this as an opportunity to return to their homeland but they are unhappy to find that the complex rituals and splendid appointments of the Church of England are as lavish as they had been in the Catholic Church. As stated in the documentary Pilgrims and Puritans – The Struggle for Religious Freedom in England 1517-1692, “The returning Protestants approved of Elizabeth’s hard line against Catholicism, but the most devout among them wished to make the Church of England more like the reformed churches they had attended in Holland.” The Puritans wished to cleanse the church of what they viewed as idolatry and overly complex rituals as well as do away with the church hierarchy. They felt the existing church could be simplified and reformed. A number of extremist Puritans...
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