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The Colonial Period: 1620-1776. “was it puritanism / or was it fish?” (Charles Olson, “Letter 10”) mercantile discovery of U.S. early modern trade New England settled by companies, charters “Massachusetts Bay” charter, Virginia Company, etc. Puritanism in New England.

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the colonial period 1620 1776
The Colonial Period: 1620-1776

“was it puritanism / or was it fish?”

(Charles Olson, “Letter 10”)

mercantile discovery of U.S.

early modern trade

New England settled by companies, charters

“Massachusetts Bay” charter, Virginia Company, etc.

puritanism in new england
Puritanism in New England


1. central ideology of Colonial period

2. endurance of Protestant spirit in modern period

a. via work ethic

Puritanism in England

1. 1543, Henry VIII & Church of England

2. Anglicanism & Protestant Reformation

a. 1560's & 70's

literature the arts
Literature & the arts

1. primarily instructive

a. to reveal God's ways to man

b. to inspire reform

c. prohibition against elegance, form for form’s sake

2. the Jeremiad

a. warning against backsliding

b. interpreting "God's controversy w/New England”

3. sermons, histories, biographies, captivity narratives

4. importance of history & biography

5. typological interpretation

6. figural nature of life: Bradford

a. compares Indians to Paul's Barbarians

b. sees self as Moses without a Pisgah sight

puritan theology basic tenets
Puritan theology: basic tenets

A. Calvin's God

1. separation of man & God

2. Nature as God's handiwork

a. God not present in Nature

B. Predestination or Election

1. God chooses certain souls to be saved

a. damns all others

2. elect vs. "strangers“

a. elect: chosen by God

b. strangers: not chosen

covenant theology
Covenant Theology

Puritans modeled on "chosen people" of Old Testament

The Covenants

1. Works: (est. w/Adam)

2. Grace: (est. w/Abraham)

a. based on faith, not works

b. the Jews as Chosen people

c. Grace sanctified by Christ

1) extended to all humankind

federal or social covenant
Federal or Social Covenant

3. Federal or Social Covenant

a. as individual saved by Grace

1) so community of Saints protected

b. God's controversy w/New England

1) analogy to Biblical pact with Israelites

c. covenant ratified if "errand" successful

d. need for social cohesion

e. example of American Exceptionalism

salvation and verification
Salvation and Verification

Personal salvation

1. cornerstone of Christian life

2. necessity of study & introspection

3. role of logic & proof

4. Regeneration (est. w/Christ)

a. being in state of Grace


1. no verification possible

2. need to "read" world for signs

3. Bible provides types or models

4. material success as sign of


Antinomianism as central heresy in Puritan society

1. view that Christians are by grace free from moral law

2. Anne Hutchinson as central figure in

3. strict reading of Grace

1. no "works" could assure one of salvation

2. "preparation" makes no difference

4. personal verification threat to civil order

1. no need of ritual, priest, books, church

5. as tendency in subsequent literature

1. "inner light" & self-reliance

6. John Winthrop as chief prosecutor of

dissension in second generation
Dissension in Second Generation

First generation of Puritans

“visible saints”—convinced of God’s grace

Second generation

no longer guaranteed sainthood

Salem Witch Trials

27 members convicted

50 “confessed”100 put in jail

Antinomianism and Secularism among second generation settlers

Dissension within Puritan community

Decline in Church membership

The “half-way covenant” (1662)

offered sacraments to baptized members

baptism but not communion