The Ideal Puritan Society
Puritans thought of themselves as members of the Church of England. Disgusted with the tainted modern religious practices, puritans tried to change that institution. They soon became frustrated with the lack of successful reform as English kings James I and Charles I persecuted them. The Puritans migrated to the New World to create a nation according to their own beliefs. The Puritan Society was a very restrictive and socially constrictive one. Massachusetts Bay Colony was organized in 1628 by Puritans and in 1629, five ships carried the first Puritan settlers to their first settlement, Salem, (Bremer, 34). Most of the Puritans settled in the New England area as they immigrated and formed individual colonies, their numbers rose from 17,800 in 1640 to 106,000 in 1700 (Bremer 45).
The Puritan Society was benchmarked by many different factors. Every member of the society had a strict role to fill. Any one who fell outside of their appropriate role in society was insulted, or even tortured to death. Gender, class, and race all contributed to a person's social position. Puritans strict literary interpretation of the bible and firm belief in predestination helped lay a foundation for the ideal "City on a hill" as explained by John Winthrop, a puritan thinker and Massachusetts Bay Colony governor.
Men were supposed to be dominant over women. They also thought that women were not to be able to survive without a man. Puritans believed that females could not be truly touched by God; therefore, men were the only ones able to own land or become congregational leaders in the church. Moreover, Puritans assumed that any female who dared to speak the word of God must truly be a utensil of the devil. White Puritan Protestants were inherently superior to any other religion or race.
These holy rich men, free of original sin, were the only ones allowed to commune with God. Any one who preached a religion different from the Puritan holy man was