Downfall of Puritan Society

Downfall of Puritan Society

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Puritanism was the foundation of seventeenth century New England society. Religion played a key role in all aspects of settler’s lives and was the main factor in law-making. Puritan New England was ruled by theocracy where most of the power was held by full male church members. The settlers were expected to follow an austere Puritan lifestyle and live by its strict moral code. It was a hierarchical society wherein the most successful, well-know people received special privileges and held the most power.
The Puritan society of New England was very conventional in its practices. Although women were seen as spiritual equals to men, they did not hold the power in the church. Once women were married they were expected to stay at home and care for their families. Married women were taught to obey their husbands as their husbands obeyed God. Puritans devoted every Sunday entirely to church and scorned their neighbors who did not attend services. They believed that their fate was predestined and one’s success in life is an implication of God’s feelings towards him or her.
Seventeenth century New England towns were divided between residential property, which was in the center of each town, land used for farming located in the outskirts of the towns, and commons which were shared among the community. Wealthier and more socially important townspeople had the best property. Each town had a church and a school. The main source of economic wealth for the New Englanders was agriculture. If one came across success in their job, he would like upon as saved by God.
The Puritans practiced theocracy. The church was extremely interconnected with political affairs.

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Church-goers elected officials, and although ministers were not allowed to hold office, they still held great political power. New Englanders made laws based on their beliefs in God and believed they were practicing God’s will. Puritan society was controlled by a select few people who were thought to be living saints. This created tension among the common people that eventually led to the downfall of Puritanism in New England.

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