The Influence of Puritanism on American Literature

Topics: Puritan, United States, English Reformation Pages: 3 (1234 words) Published: February 22, 2013
The Puritans and PuritanismMost of the early settlers were Puritans, a group of serious, religious people who advocated strict religious and moral principles. * They wanted to purify the English Church and to restore church worship to the "pure and unspotted" condition of its earlier days. * They opposed the elaborate rituals of the English Church. * They believed that the Bible was the revealed word of God, therefore, people should guide their daily behavior with the Bible.The Puritans brought with them a philosophy of life, which is popularly known as American Puritanism. A dominant factor in American life, Puritanism was one of the most enduring and shaping influences in American thought and American literature. Without true understanding of Puritanism, there would be no real understanding of American literature and American culture.¡°Puritanism had spoken for the preeminence of the individual, for freedom from oppressive governments, and for the value of learning and education. It led Americans to examine their beliefs, their world, and each other. It gave ordinary men and women a sense of purpose. It encouraged them to scrutinize issues in religion and in government and to speak out. It helped to create in Americans a sense of duty to their God, their nation, and their fellow men. It taught men and women to labor to be good and to judge others by their lives, not by their birth. At its height, Puritanism served as the dominant force in the creating of American literature.¡± (McMichael, ed. AAL, 11-12)American Puritanism is a two-fold cultural heritage, one being religious and the other practical. Puritans were therefore called "practical idealist" or "doctrinaire opportunist".On the one hand, Puritanism is a highly strict religious doctrine. The Puritans were determined to find a place on the new continent where they could worship God in the way they thought true Christians should. When they arrived on the continent, they saw virgin land, virgin...
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