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Puritan Life An Introduction to the Puritan Unit.

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1 Puritan Life An Introduction to the Puritan Unit

2 Puritans – The Facts They didn’t like the Church of England They were a large Protestant group Beginning in 1560, they tried to “purify” themselves and the Church-- hence the name “Puritan” Since the time of Henry VIII the church was inseparable from the country’s government They held strong spiritual beliefs Puritans suffered persecution in England. They were jailed, whipped, and hanged, so they came to America for freedom of religion.

3 Puritans The Facts (cont.) Puritan Life was strict with no margin for error Their clothing was usually black, white or grey and they lived a simple and religious life. Sundays and Holy days were strictly observed, with these days being devoted entirely to God.

4 Settlement Puritans mostly settled in the New England Colonies They also immigrated and formed new colonies Population increased from 17,800 in 1640 to 106,000 in 1700

5 Settlement In 1624, they formed the Massachusetts Bay Company and got permission from King Charles I of England to build a colony. They settled in Massachusetts Bay and called their first settlement Boston.

6 Puritan Spiritual Beliefs Believed that religion was a personal, inner experience and that the government and clergy could not act as an intermediary between God and the individual. Providence-God controls everything that happens on earth and in every aspect of life. Believed in the concept of Predestination Elaborated by John Calvin who taught that human beings were inherently sinful and can only be redeemed through God’s graces-depraved by inheriting the original sin of Adam and Eve The belief was that God predetermined the “elect,” those who were saved, and the “unregenerate,” those who were damned, before the beginning of history. Even “the elect” were born sinful, the difference is that they are saved at some point in their lives.

7 Puritan Spiritual Beliefs (cont.) Two indications that you were an “elect”: #1-you were saved by the grace of God and you could feel the grace arriving in an emotional fashion #2-the inner arrival of God’s grace was demonstrated in your outward behavior—the effect was that you behaved like a saint The American Puritans came to value self- reliance, industriousness, temperance, and simplicity No “extra credit” was given for hard workers

8 Puritan Spiritual Beliefs (cont.) It was against the Puritan law not to attend church— where men and women sat on opposite sides through long services. The Puritan lifestyle was restrained and rigid: People were expected to work hard and repress their emotions or opinions. Individual differences were frowned upon. 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.

9 The Differences between Puritanism (Calvinism) and Catholicism Calvin : God's rule determines the will. Catholic : God's rule includes free will. Calvin : God desires only the salvation of the elect. Catholic : God desires the salvation of all. Calvin : God provides grace only to the elect. Catholic : God provides grace to all, though not all accept it. Calvin : Christ died only for the elect. Catholic : Christ died for all men. Calvin : God predetermines some for hell. Catholic : Men merit hell by their own wickedness. Calvin : Those in grace (the elect) can't fall away. Catholic : Those in grace can freely sin and lose grace.

10 Puritan Religion and Witchcraft 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. In keeping with the Puritan code of conformity, the first women to be accused of witchcraft in Salem were seen as different and as social outcasts: Tituba, a slave; Sarah Good, a homeless beggar; and Sarah Osborne, a sickly old woman who married her servant.

11 Puritan Education Reading the Bible was required-it was believed to be the literal word of God The Bible provided a model for Puritan writing. The Puritans viewed each individual life as a journey toward salvation and the afterlife Puritans looked for connections between biblical events and the events in their own lives. Education was important to “purify” the new generation Harvard College was originally established in 1636 to train Puritan ministers Puritans favored a plain style of writing. They admired clarity of expression and avoided complicated figures of speech.

12 Puritan Politics The Puritans believed that the “elect” should exert great influence on the government, thus their views tended to be rather undemocratic. The Puritans also believed in the concept of Theocracy, or government ruled by God. The contract, or covenant, with God enjoined them to create a society governed by the Bible. Puritans demanded strict conformity: Dissenters were often beaten or in the worst cases, killed.

13 Why was Puritanism so Successful? The desire to separate from the Church of England was strong enough to sway people to convert to Puritanism. In a state of uncertainty in a strange land, a sense of belonging was valued. Events were unsettling at the time and people needed to believe that they played a predestined role. Those who believed themselves to be the “elect” took solace in the idea that strivings and sufferings on Earth would secure a place in Heaven.


15 Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) Found in Shakespeare, and in other great English poets, sources of inspiration and technique. Was born into a family of Puritans and accepted their reformist views 1628—Bradstreet marries Simon Bradstreet. 1650--Bradstreet’s poems were published, unbeknownst to her, by her brother-in-law John Woodbridge, a minister in Andover. - Published in London under the title The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America. To learn that her poems were published was embarrassing for Bradstreet because the Puritans believed that women were created as man’s “helpmate” and subordinate; a good wife was thus expected to be compliant and self-effacing. The poems were a success, even with the strict Puritan Minister Cotton Mather ~Bradstreet is remembered for her simple personal lyrics on such topics as the birth of children, the death of grandchildren, the love for her husband, etc.

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