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Puritan Life in New England Successful Settlements in North America.

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Presentation on theme: "Puritan Life in New England Successful Settlements in North America."— Presentation transcript:

1 Puritan Life in New England Successful Settlements in North America

2 History of Puritanism A group of Calvinists who opposed both Catholics and Anglicans in England. What they want: – Limited congregational membership to those who had undergone some sort of conversion experience. – Opposed the Catholic / Anglican church hierarchy where priests and bishops controlled the local congregation. Calvinists: protestant Christians who based their religious practices on the writings of John Calvin. Calvin taught that Christians must know God and know themselves. Calvin taught that discipline and adherence to God’s teachings were paramount to being a “Godly” person.

3 Who Were the Puritans? Puritanism appealed primarily to middle class people in English society: – Merchants – Small-scale farmers – Shopkeepers – Intellectuals / Educated clergy

4 Puritans in North America

5 The first settlement of Puritans in North America was the Plymouth Colony in 1620. Twenty-four families, about ½ of them Separatist Puritans sailed for America aboard the Mayflower. Roughly one half of the 102 immigrants died during the first winter, those that survived did so mainly due to help from Native Americans in the area.

6 Puritans in New England Following the success of the colony at Plymouth, other Puritans soon joined them in North America. 1629 – Founding of Massachusetts Bay Colony – Like Plymouth it would be Puritan dominated and self governing as opposed to controlled by the crown or stockholders in England. Other Puritan colonies: Connecticut, New Haven, and Rhode Island.

7 Organizing a Puritan Colony Governor John Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity” described the area as “a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.” Winthrop expected these Puritan colonies to be shining examples to the rest of the world.

8 Organizing a Puritan Colony In the colonies of New England, as opposed to those in the Chesapeake and South, most of the immigrants to Massachusetts and Plymouth were landowning farm families of modest means. There were very few indentured servants and almost NO slaves. By 1642, there were nearly 15,000 colonists in New England.

9 Organizing a Puritan Colony Church Organization: – Congregations of Puritans were relatively independent and self- governing. – Control lay in the hands of the male “saints” in the congregation. – Election of ministers, a board of elders, and recognition as saints were performed by a simple majority vote. Government Organization: – While supporting the concept of an official church in the New England colonies, the Puritans maintained that theocracy was not their goal. – However the colony did require all adults to attend services and pay taxes to support the local congregation. – In many places, voting was limited to church membership.

10 Educating a Puritan Colony In order to have an educated and involved population, in 1647 Massachusetts Bay ordered every town of more than 50 households to appoint a teacher who would instruct all children. Towns of more than 100 households had to construct and support a grammar school. Likewise in 1636, Massachusetts founded Harvard to help maintain a supply of properly trained ministers.

11 Organizing Puritan Life Most Puritans in colonial New England lived in nuclear families. – Single men and women, the children of the poor, recent immigrants, and convicts were often compelled by a city’s selectmen to live within “well governed families” to prevent problems from arising. Likewise a person’s social standing was determined not by his own deeds, but by his family. Prior to the law of 1647 establishing schools, Puritan heads of households were required to lead their households in prayer, scripture readings, teach children, servants, and apprentices to read.

12 Organizing a Puritan Life Maintaining Social Order – “Tithing men”: appointed by selectmen to oversee ten – twelve households, ensuring that the marital relationships were harmonious and unruly children were properly disciplined. – Failure to discipline children – they could be removed from the home – Men who neglected or failed to support their families - would be punished by the court – Fornication outside of marriage – fines or whippings – Adultery – whippings, brandings, or wearing the letter A, and in at least three cases DEATH.

13 Puritan Family Life A woman’s duties in her household would often include: cooking, sewing, milking, washing, spinning, cleaning, and gardening. Some women would also be excepted to brew beer, churn butter, make cheese, harvest and preserve fruit, boil laundry, stitch shirts & petticoats, etc. Not all marriages were happy or even peaceful. Records indicate that 1630- 1699, 128 men were tried for spousal abuse, including one man who beat his wife with a club for refusing to feed a pig. A woman was punished for beating and reviling her husband and encouraging her children to help her!

14 The “Oddballs?” Those that upset the social order, who don’t fit into the structure of society that the Puritans are constructing were a problem. – “Spinster” or unmarried women – Widows – Lifelong bachelors For this reason, marriage was encouraged, it was rare that a person would never marry in Puritan New England.

15 SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS Witchcraft in America

16 Problems in Salem Salem in the late 17 th Century was the second largest port in Massachusetts. Wealth brought by trade created a sharp distinction between the citizens. In Salem Village, the eastern portion was the seat of power; better soils, proximity to Salem Town and the port made them much wealthier than those on the western side of the village. How might social expectations play into the witchcraft accusations? How might economics play into the witchcraft accusation?

17 Problems in Salem The Accused: – In Salem, the women who were accused of witchcraft were often middle-aged wives or widows who had or would inherit more than the usual portion of their husband’s property. – These women would be financially independent and a threat to the existing social order. The Accusers: – In Salem, the accusers were most often women between the ages of 11 and 20. – Many were servants in others households due to displacement or death from recent conflicts in Maine. – These girls gained power and influence through their accusations that they would never have had otherwise.

18 Salem Witch Trials Over the course of the hysteria in Salem, 19 men and women were hanged for witchcraft. Another (over 80 years old) was pressed to death for failing to admit his guilt. Numbers vary, but as many as 13 others died in prison. Some sources say only 4 died in prison.

19 Salem Witch Trials… a video

20 Legacy Within a generation, the strict adherence to Puritan values had nearly vanished in New England. The strong roots did continue to bear fruit in the form of strong self-discipline and forceful convictions, however the church no longer served as the center of life in New England. The pursuit of material wealth became much more important. In the years that followed, religious thinking would shift from a focus on the congregational approach to the personal relationship. This signaled the end of Puritanism in America.

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