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Colonialism. 1492-1770. Puritans. - Puritans were a Christian sect that believed that worship and the Church could be simplified in order to more closely resemble biblical models.

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  • - Puritans were a Christian sect that believed that worship and the Church could be simplified in order to more closely resemble biblical models.

  • - Puritans were persecuted in Europe for beliefs and fled to “New World,” settling in what became New England.

  • Puritans became pilgrims – people who make a long journey for a religious reason. Puritans were pilgrims, but not all pilgrims are Puritans.

Puritan writings

Puritan Writings

  • - Puritans used Bible as a model for writing; there were direct connections between Biblical events and their lives.

  • - Puritans used writing to explore their inner and outer lives for signs of God

  • - Diaries and histories were most common forms of Puritan expression and writing – often published as memoirs



  • A Memoir is a piece of autobiographical writing. It often tries to capture certain highlights or meaningful moments in one's past, often including a contemplation of the meaning of that event at the time of the writing of the memoir.

  • Characteristics: Memoirs focus on a brief period of time , have a narrative structure, are emotional, and contain author’s reflection on event.

Puritan writings cont

Puritan Writings, cont.

  • - Puritans favored a plain style similar to the Geneva Bible. Plain style – plain way of writing with clarity of expression and no figures of speech

  • Has archaic writing – words suggestive of an earlier time period

  • - Writing was for education; education was necessary to understand the Bible

Major genres of writing

Major Genres of Writing

  • Journals/Diaries - memoirs

  • Historical documents

  • Sermons

  • Historical poems

  • Bible – most read book

Colonial beliefs

Colonial Beliefs

  • Freedom of religion (for the Puritans)

  • Adam and Eve’s sin damned most people for all eternity

  • Puritan beliefs – the “Elect”were a select few people who were predetermined by God to be saved – good/holy behavior was the result of being saved, or “elected.”

  • Native Americans polytheistic

Puritan beliefs

Puritan Beliefs

The Puritan lifestyle was a demanding one where there was not much time, nor was it accepted, to be creative.

The Puritans wanted to be controlled by God and everything that happened to them was the fate of God.

Strict Puritan code was far from tolerant.

Any show of emotion. Such as excitement, fear, or anger was discouraged, and disobedience was severely punished.

Puritan beliefs cont

Puritan Beliefs cont.

Children rarely played, as toys and games were scarce. Puritans saw these activities as sinful distractions.

People were expected to work hard and repress their emotions or opinions.

Individual differences were frowned upon. Even the dark, somber Puritan dress was dictated by the church.

They believed that all sins—from sleeping in church to stealing food—should be punished.

Puritan beliefs cont1

Puritan Beliefs cont.

They also believed God would punish sinful behavior. When a neighbor would suffer misfortune, such as a sick child or a failed crop, Puritans saw it as God’s will and did not help.

Puritans also believed the Devil was as real as God.

Everyone was faced with the struggle between the powers of good and evil, but Satan would select the weakest individuals—women, children, the insane—to carry out his work.

Those who followed Satan were considered witches. Witchcraft was one of the greatest crimes a person could commit, punishable by death.

Puritan rules laws

Puritan Rules/Laws

Government was a theocracy – run by the Church. Many rules were created to regulate behavior and enforce a strict moral code. For Example:

  • No playing, traveling, or drinking on Sundays

  • No husband shall publicly kiss his wife on Sunday

  • All citizens must attend church on Sunday

  • Strict dress code

  • No ribbon, silver or gold thread, hatbands or other adornments

  • No dancing

Crime and punishment

Crime and Punishment

For the crime of high stubbornness and rebelliousness


Sleeping in church


Playing on Sunday

placed in the stocks for two hours

Idleness (talking, swimming or playing during work hours)


Historical background

Historical Background

  • Mayflower compact – Puritans

  • Discovering colonies – creating colonies – Jamestown settlement (English merchant class) and Massachusetts colony (Puritans)

  • Types of people who came:

    • Indentured Servants and Slaves

    • Criminals debtors

    • Those looking for a new start or money

Historical background cont

Historical Background, cont.

  • Salem Witch trials

  • Colonialism ends with American Revolution and the Age of Reason

Famous authors

Famous Authors


  • Elements of Literature, 5th course. Austin: Holt, Rhinehart, and Winston, 2000.

  • Flowers, Darlene. “The Puritans.” Powerpoint. 2009.

  • Livaudais, Kimberly. Class Lecture notes. 2008.

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