Religion in the Life of the Puritans
The Puritans were a people of high moral standards and strong religious beliefs. Religion encompassed every aspect of their lives and offered a base at which they could lay the foundations of a new society. Puritans left the Church of England and many fled to America in order to maintain their English identity. Because Puritan beliefs of religious expression, strong work ethic, and education were deeply established before the arrival to America, the colonists allowed for unchallenged and successful political, economic, and social growth.
The Puritan’s main objective of the move to America was to take part in religious freedom and establish their own Theocracy. They did not believe in the separation of church and state and were not tolerant of other religions. Puritans wished to express their beliefs and “purify” the Church of Catholic influence. The belief in “Grace” gave a sense of spiritual freedom or “soul liberty.” Perhaps the Puritan idea of liberty laid the base for the growth of American government and the principle of freedom for the future. To promote political stability, a legal code was put into action that called for representative government and religious freedom of conscience. A “Bible Commonwealth” was to be established which would serve as a model to all mankind. Because religion served as the center for all aspects of life, the Bible was used as a legal guide and power was placed in the members of the church. Puritans were highly patriarchal, an idea derived from English custom. A strong conviction in literacy paved way for a set of laws that included the education of children. The Old Deluder Law stated that “Learning may not be buried in the graves of our forefathers in Church and Commonwealth”. They did not want their English identity to diminish and therefore became major supporters of public schools. A series of laws sustained a system of community schools and quickly gained ground in...
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