ME The Puritans You guys
A “Purified” Church • The Puritans sought to purify the Church of England from within. • They believed the Anglican Church of England had become too garish and idolatrous in its worship. • They wanted to get back to the basics of Calvinism.
Puritanism • Asserts the basic sinfulness of humankind; but also declares that God has determined that some will be saved despite their sins • Thus, the experience of conversion, in which the soul is touched by the Holy Spirit, is an indication that one is of the elect
Puritanism • Puritanism was a way of life. • Puritan spiritual life stressed self-discipline & introspection • Puritans saw their lives as a “divine mission”: God gave them the New World for they were his chosen people
The Bible • Puritans believed The Bible to be the supreme authority on earth • They used The Bible to justify their occupation of the land and their use of force against Native Americans
Judgmental God (rewards good/punishes evil) Predestination/Election (salvation or damnation was predetermined by God) Original Sin (humans are innately sinful, tainted by the sins of Adam & Eve; good can be accomplished only through hard work & self-discipline) God’s Grace Basic Tenets of Puritanism
Hard Work & Self-Discipline • To the Puritans, a person by nature was wholly sinful and could achieve good only by severe and unremitting discipline. • Hard work was considered a religious duty and emphasis was laid on constant self-examination and self-discipline.
Puritans & Education • Puritans were highly literate people • Education was highly valued as a way to fight atheism and to instill in children the value of hard work
Dissenters • Reformers like Anne Hutchinson were excommunicated from the church and driven out of the community. • Roger Williams was banished from the MBC in 1635 for challenging the strict religious code and the government’s right to confiscate Native American land without compensation. • He founded the colony of Providence in 1636. • Quakers and other dissenters received very harsh punishments, including execution, for their beliefs.
Other Colonies • 1632: Lord Baltimore establishes the colony of Maryland as a haven for persecuted Roman Catholics • 1636: Colonists leave Puritan Massachusetts to seek religious freedom in Connecticut (Thomas Hooker) and Rhode Island (Roger Williams) • 1682: Quaker William Penn’s Pennsylvania becomes a model of religious and political tolerance
The Decline of Puritanism • By 1700 Puritanism was in decline in New England for various reasons • Indian Wars(Pequots, Narragansets, Nipmuks, Wampanoags) • Urbanization(more non-Puritans joining the colonies) • Age of Reason(rationalists attack religion, focusing on science & reason) • Salem Witch Trials
The Salem Witch Trials (1690s) • Several young Puritan girls accuse a servant, Tituba, of being a witch • To protect herself, Tituba implicates other members of the community • A chain reaction ensues and 27 people are convicted of practicing witchcraft • 50 others “confess” and 100 others are imprisoned to await trial • In the end 19 people are executed (hanged) for being witches
1692 Salem • Since Puritans were expected to live by a rigid moral code, they believed that all sins—from sleeping in church to stealing food—should be punished. • 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.
1692 Salem • 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.
1692 Salem • Fear of magic and witchcraft was common in New England, as it had been in Europe for centuries. • Over 100 alleged witches had been tried and hanged in New England during the 1600s. • But the hangings in 1692 Salem would be the last ones in America
Witches or Not? • To “prove” that someone was a witch, church officials sometimes poked him or her with pins, searching for a so-called devil’s mark, a spot where no pain was felt. • Another test involved tying together the hands and feet of the accused and throwing him or her into water. Those who floated were declared witches; those who drowned were declared innocent. No, really…I swear.
Spectral Evidence • In the Salem witch trials, spectral evidence – the testimony of a church member who claimed to have seen a person’s spirit performing witchcraft – was enough to sentence the accused to death.
The Crucible • Arthur Milller’s play, The Crucible draws a direct parallel between McCarthyism in 1950s America and the hysteria & paranoia in Salem. • This paranoia and “witch hunt” mentality was present in 1950s Hollywood where many Americans were suspected of being members of the Communist party and “blacklisted.”
The Crucible • In the 1950s Miller was subjected to a scrutiny by a committee of the United States Congress investigating Communist influence in the arts. • The Crucible was an allegory for the McCarthy era and mass hysteria
The Crucible • In 1956 Miller was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). • Miller admitted that he had attended certain meetings, but denied that he was a Communist.
The Crucible • Miller had attended among others four or five writer's meetings sponsored by the Communist Party in 1947, supported a Peace Conference, and signed many appeals and protests. • Refusing to offer other people's names, who had associated with leftist or suspected Communist groups, Miller was cited for contempt of Congress, but the ruling was reversed by the courts in 1958. • He was blacklisted, which meant that he could not get a job anywhere in Hollywood.
Puritan Poetry The Poems of Anne Bradstreet
Puritan Poetry • Poetry in 17th century New England was almost exclusively devotional in nature and, as such, was highly recommended reading for the Puritan community.
Anne Bradstreet • Like any conscientious Puritan, Anne Bradstreet always viewed her life within a spiritual context; every event, no matter how trivial, bore a divine message; every misfortune served to remind her of God’s will and the path to salvation.
Anne Bradstreet • The first notable American poet • What sets her poems apart from other Puritan verse is their personal subject matter: her family, her children, her home.
Anne Bradstreet • Bradstreet’s poems are important because they provide an insight into the daily lives of Puritans • Her poems also show a more human side of the stereotypical stern Puritans
“To My Dear and Loving Husband” • Reflects a happy marriage/domestic life • Written during one of the frequent absences of her husband, Simon • Expresses her love for her husband • Written in iambic pentameter; contains heroic couplets