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The Puritan Impact upon America. What Long Lasting Traditions to Social, Religious and Economic Expressions Did This Group Infuse into the Fabric of the American Traditions?

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The Puritan impact upon America. What long lasting traditions to social, religious and economic expressions did this group infuse into the fabric of the American traditions?

AP U.S History

Henry Beras

11/5/2017

The Puritans were English Protestant reformers from the 16 century who sought to purify the Church of England of Catholic rituals and creeds. (Bailey) They were inspired by the ideology of John Calvin and his Calvinistic views. They came to the Americas because of exile and seeking freedom of religion. They arrived at the Plymouth Harbor in late December of 1920 where they would form the first permanent settlement of Europeans in New England. These original settlers of Plymouth Colony are known as the Pilgrim Fathers, or simply as the Pilgrims. (Burns) They believed that once a vote or common consciences was reached then that was the will of God; this was an insult to any divinely ordained monarchy. The Puritans took an evangelical worldview and applied it to their daily life. The Puritan way was more than just an ideology or religion; it was a way of life for the pilgrims. They wanted to live peacefully and in harmony, having a place where everybody was “equal”.  Their foundation helps America develop religiously, socially/politically and economically.

The Puritans wanted to reform the church. They tried for years to reform the church during the last part of Queen Elizabeth reign to make changes in the Anglican Church which failed. When James the first took power they believed that he was going to conform to their beliefs because of he was raised in a reform protestant church, but instead, he said that they were to be exile if they persisted. (Burns) They persisted which eventually lead to this group being exile in 1608 to Amsterdam and Leiden for 12 years. They were welcomed by the people but there were uncomfortable changes to them like the foreign language, property, and ungodly influences. (Weber). The pilgrim's departure 3 different times trying to find a place they could call their own; the third voyage being the one that set sail to the New World. William Bradford documented theses voyages on the journal which was later made into a book called Of Plymouth Plantation. They sailed in a ship called the Mayflower; the conditions were horrible and the pilgrims had to deal with rough sleeping, bad food, little supplies and sickness (Weber). All they wanted to live peacefully and in harmony, having a place where everybody was “equal”. However, this was very hypocritical because this statement basically only applied to white men and excluded women and natives Americans. Knowing all this information now it shows how the Puritans wanted to preserve their religious views. They went as far as migration to several different places to achieve this. They also endured through extreme conditions to achieve their goal. Looking at this it shows how narrow-minded the Puritans were. It kind of comes off as pompous and stubborn. They believed that their religion was the right one and that the Anglican church, as well as any other religion, was in the wrong; but can we really judge them for thinking this way. Most religions in the world are like this. When people like the puritans raise they children with certain ideologies these ideologies become “fact”. Morals are very hard to change. This gives us perspective on how the puritans were as people as well as how they acted. It also shows how why they shaped the Americas the way they did.

         The Puritans impacted religion in the Americas. The puritan’s world was set around religion. They lived it and breathed it. Even in the Mayflower Compact which was a governmental document the settlers sighed included homage to God and religious morals. They also created a code of conduct called the Tenets of American Puritanism. Generally speaking, it’s included the key puritan’s beliefs. For example, Godly people were sober, hardworking, and responsible. (Kang) English society had been corrupted by foreign influences and by disorder and needed to be purified. Catholicism had undermined the relationship between God and the individual. They also believed in predestination and that no one can earn salvation through works. They also called themselves Congregationalist because they believed that the congregation or people of the faith should have power and be in charge of the church. With this in mind, they elected officials and priest which eliminated hierarchy in the church. They wanted worship to be plain, lack mystery, and be focused on God, No stained glass, instrumental music, or art. They thought this distracted from the main goal of getting closer and connected to God. They valued education because that was the way they were able to spread their ideas onto their children. This shows how well organized and civilized the Puritans were. Even though they were centralized that does not take away from the fact that this wasn’t going to help them survive in the rough winters of the north in the Americas. They would not have survived without Squanto who was a Native American and his tribes teaching them where to fish and how to farm in this new world for the Puritans. They attributed their survival through the winter to God as well as to the natives. The puritans impacted the Americas though religion because they planted the seeds for Protestant Christianity to play a big role in our nation’s history. Everywhere we look in American history we can see how Protestant Christianity affects many outcomes. The Puritans did not only affect religions but also impacted the Americas socially/politically

The Puritans impacted the Americas socially/politically. They picked there officials and leaders; this is a critical component in our government now. They also put restrictions on leaders so that they would not have too much power; if they did they could abuse it and the Puritans did not want that. These ideologies of government are used in the modern world in many ways today. The puritans after their voyage signed the Mayflower Compact this was signed by 41 English colonists on the ship Mayflower on November 11, 1620, was the first written framework of government established in what is now the United States. The compact was drafted to prevent dissent amongst Puritans and non-separatist Pilgrims who had landed at Plymouth a few days earlier. (History). This document is a "constitution" because it was establishing principles that were going to be obeyed. They agreed to create offices, laws, and constitutions that would aid the common good. This document democratic because it was an agreement that all men were equals, and that the majority opinion would rule. It's truly a ground-breaking democratic document because not all people on the Mayflower held the same beliefs, there was sure to be differences of opinion and conflict, but it was still believed that all men should have an equal voice in the government. Although this document was democratic it also showed signs of it being undemocratic because they were still tying themselves to the king and country. They were not doing this independently. They said that they were doing it in honor of the King and the country.  The Mayflower Compact attempted to establish a government for a short term until they were given the right to self-govern themselves. They didn’t mean to do this but they accidentally started American democracy by doing this. The signed this document with the idea of Egalitarianism which is a belief that all people are created equal. The Puritans brought something priceless to the table which is equality. No matter where you were from or who you are, you are no better than another person in the world. This is the foundation for what America is. In the modern world, there are many races and religions in America. With this ideology, all of these people can be united because they are equal under one God. The Mayflower Compact was the foundational document for the Plymouth Colony. It was a covenant whereby the settlers subordinated their rights to follow laws passed by the government to ensure protection and survival. It was an influential document for the founding fathers as they created the US Constitution. It was the first constitution and the foundation for our current government that we have. Without this critical puritan contribution to American history, the world would be a much different place. Although the Puritans impacted the Americas socially/politically they also impacted the Americas economically.

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