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Puritans in America. 17 th -18 th century. History of Religious Refugees in America. A. Upset by persecution in England 1. King Charles I forbade change to Church of England

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puritans in america

Puritans in America

17th-18th century

history of religious refugees in america
History of Religious Refugees in America

A. Upset by persecution in England

1. King Charles I forbade change to Church of England

2. Puritans demanded reform while Separatists demanded a break; both felt the Church of England was becoming “too Catholic.” Each wanted to change it—either by purifying it (Puritans) or separating from it (Separatists).

history of religious refugees in america1
History of Religious Refugees in America

B. Fled England for East Coast

1. Separatists landed at Plymouth via the Mayflower, 1620

2. Puritans landed at Massachusetts Bay via the WinthropFleet, 1630

3. Later, Massachusetts Bay colony absorbed Plymouth

4. Puritans established primary schools, renowned colleges, and set up the first colonial printing press

puritan beliefs
Puritan Beliefs

Based on the teachings of John Calvin, whose Calvinism had five basic principles:

“total depravity”: based on the doctrine of original sin; man is inclined more to evil than to good

“unconditional election”: predestination—man’s end is not decided by him, but by God; in most cases, man is headed towards damnation (= the non-elect), in a few, he is headed towards salvation (= the elect)

“limited atonement”: Jesus died for some, not for all; redemption is intended for the elect, not the non-elect

“irresistible grace”:the elect cannot struggle against their salvation

“perseverance of the saints”:the elect cannot lose their salvation

puritan beliefs1
Puritan Beliefs

B. Man and his accomplishments exist solely to glorify God.

C. If one’s hard work results in success, it is a sign that he or she is one of the “elect.”

puritan separatist genres
Puritan/Separatist Genres

A. sermons, ex. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards

  • Audience: present listeners
  • Purpose: shake listeners’ complacency through frightening word-pictures, similes, metaphors, and analogies
  • Context: 1741, delivered orally to congregations at Northhampton, MA and Enfield, CT, Late Puritanism, Great Awakening

B. sermon, ex. “A Model of Christian Charity”

  • Audience: present listeners
  • Purpose: rally his listeners together, remind them of their errand in the new world, and warn them against straying from it
  • Context: written 1630, published 1838; read to passengers aboard the Arbellaen route from England to America
puritan separatist genres1
Puritan/Separatist Genres

C. historical narratives, ex. “Of Plymouth Plantation” by William Bradford

  • Audience: future readers, the “children” whose “fathers wrestled in going through these things in their first beginnings”
  • Purpose: relay historical information and provide a model of religious courage brought on by trial
  • Context: written 1630, published 1856; some material submitted by Bradford to a journal of the colonists’ early years, full manuscript lost and recovered two centuries later in a London bishop’s library

D. poetry, ex. Anne Bradstreet’s

1. Audience: herself

2. Purpose: explore the tension between her desire and duty

3. Context: written and published around 1650, her brother-in-law published a collection of her scholarly poems as The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, By a Gentlewoman of These Parts

puritan literary style
Puritan Literary Style
  • very personal
  • the aim is to be clear, not clever
  • the aim is to be direct, not full of unnecessary detail,

digression, or trappings

  • a plain style reflects the virtue of humility

1. How did the Puritans strive to be original?2. What was the Puritan American Dream?3. How is the Puritan American Dream like today’s American Dream?

Course Theme Questions