top-rated free essay

Puritan Society During the 1600's

By Dumbblonde014 Nov 13, 2004 748 Words
Throughout history, many people have wanted to create a model society. During the 1600's, Puritans in New England tried to establish a perfect society. The settlers sought to create a colony that was free, contained a strong sense of religion, and was perfect and admired.

The Puritans tried to create a liberated society. They first wanted to be free from England. They wanted to prevent what had gone wrong in England from happening in their colonies. In England, many people faced persecution because of their beliefs. Many people came to America seeking religious freedom. During the reign of Charles I in England, the only way people could get religious freedom was to sail to America, mostly to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Here, the settlers placed a very strong emphasis on religious freedom. The Puritans ended up constructing the Massachusetts Bay Colony based on their religious freedoms and beliefs. The colonists managed to accomplish many of these goals. But a few of these goals did not go as they had originally wished. The freedoms in America eventually became the same as it was in England, because the government taxed all the people, church members or not, and they enforced a law forcing people to attend church services. The Puritans fulfilled the freedoms that they wanted, but these liberties did not last long.

The settlers also wanted their colonies to have a very strong sense of religion. The New England Puritans were very intense in religious matters. They wanted to be a very holy society. To ensure this, the church and the government worked together; the religion was very closely connected with the Puritan political structure. Their mixture of religion and politics was based on self-government, limited government, individualism, and the community's right to control, meaning that the community could control all its members in a common interest. They were very serious about religion because they were founded upon religious beliefs. They felt very strong about purifying the Anglican Church. Their churches because Congregational Churches; therefore, they emphasized local control and independence. The colonies, especially the Massachusetts Bay Colony, aspired to maintain this "holiness", and they accomplished it, but it got out of hand. Their mixture of politics and religion soon turned into a theocracy, where it was hard to see where church and state separated. As their religious freedom lessened, the colonies became more and more like England over time.

The colonists wanted their colonies to be admired. In order for this to happen, the colonies needed to be "perfect". They set boundaries about who they would let settle there: they only let religiously acceptable people in. The colonists thought that they needed a strict orthodoxy to survive. They were trying to create a holy empire, or a "city on a hill", that would be looked up to by the rest of the world. They wanted to become a "beacon to others" (Brinkley, 1999). The governor of Massachusetts Bay, John Winthrop, described an ideal society in "Model of Christian Charity". The settlers wanted to create a "New Jerusalem", or John Winthrop's "city on a hill", to be admired by everyone, and they were willing to do almost anything to achieve it. The New England Puritans were also very hard workers, and they had a very strong work ethic. They were serious and hardworking people who led very useful lives. They were against anything that wasted time or resources, such as playing cards or gambling. They believed that if they worked hard then they would be successful; therefore they thought material success and prosperity were favors from God. Although the Puritans created a strong and energetic society that would influence American culture far after their time, they still could not live up to the ideal conditions that John Winthrop discussed. They also could not keep up their passion for religion, so in the end, their colonies were far from perfect.

The settlers tried very hard to create these perfect and holy societies. They gained freedom from England, including the freedom to worship as they wanted. They then founded colonies based upon religion with a very strict and holy society. They wanted these colonies to be admired by being what they thought to be "perfect". No matter how hard they endeavored, these colonies only became more and more like England. They New England Puritans tried very hard, but they never achieved their model society.

Works Cited

Brinkley, Alan. (1999). American History: A Survey, Tenth Edition. Boston:

McGraw-Hill College.

Sage, Henry J. (2003). Colonial American History: Puritan New England. www.nv.cc.va.us/nvsageh/Hist121/Part1/NewEngland.htm.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • During the 1600s

    ...During the 1600s, as waves of Puritan immigrants arrived in the region of New England, settling the area and establishing population centers in areas like Massachusetts Bay, where the part of Boston was established. In contrast to the Chesapeake region’s inhabitants, the Puritan settlers did not come primarily for economic interests and for mo...

    Read More
  • The Ideal Puritan Society

    ...John Swift 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 t...

    Read More
  • Puritan Influence 1630's -1660's

    ... In the 1600s, when America was a mysterious land inhabited by even more mysterious people, a handful of brave souls ventured to this strange new world. These brave souls were known as the Puritans. This special group of people sought refuge in America to practice their religion freely, without the ‘corruption of the church’ back in their h...

    Read More
  • The Puritans

    ...As it has been established in the great American history, colonists came to America for many reasons. They came to explore, to make money, to spread and practice their religion freely, and to live on land of their own. The Pilgrims and Puritans came to America to practice religious freedom. In the 1500s England broke away from the Roman Catholi...

    Read More
  • Puritan Life in 1600s

    ...Puritans felt God had a plan for their lives, that he had led them to the New World with great intentions for them; feeling God had led them to the place they came to call home, Puritans sought out to discover the purpose God had brought them here. In doing so they developed a theory that God had determined they be bestowed with literacy, leavin...

    Read More
  • Puritans

    ... In the early 17th century, the Puritan community was split into two groups: Separatist Puritans and the non- Separatist Puritans. The Separatist Puritans viewed the English society around them as tarnished because the Anglican Church along with the King was forcing their beliefs upon them. The Separatist Puritans argued that it was beyond an ...

    Read More
  • Puritans

    ...When asked to describe the lives of Puritan women, many have the tendency to compare them to Pilgrims and the lives they lived. Many describe them as oppressed, depressed, and discouraged, expected to live lives under strict rules and regulations of the government and the church. Yet, Puritan women’s lives were somewhat of the opposite. Yes, t...

    Read More
  • Puritans

    ... Puritans started to arrive in the New England area during the 1600's. They specifically settles in the areas around Boston. Unlike other people coming to settle in New England, the Puritans came to create a more pure and Christian based society; they did not come for economic purposes. The Puritans wanted a theocratic society, or a gover...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.