American History

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United States, 2006: a nation with a history of a mere 230 years, yet it stands as one of the most powerful nations in the world. Yet many of us know little about the history and cultural changes that led to the birth of this nation. We only know the bits and pieces that are taught as we sit daydreaming in our fifth grade classroom. The Puritans, the Pilgrims, Christopher Columbus, the Mayflower, we know about these people and things, yet what aspects of their lives created the change in America? The answer to this question can be found by observing the changes in religion, women's role, and colonial law as it brought about the change in the Puritan's cultural values.

In 1630, the first group of Puritans under the name of the Massachusetts Bay Company landed in what is now Boston, Massachusetts. However, months before the Arbella landed, a man by the name of John Winthrop made a sermon which came to be known as "A Modell of Christian Charity." The sermon made on the Arbella, "set down characteristic features of ‘the Puritan mind' and ‘the New England way.' The concluding sentiments concerning the covenant made between God and his people are particularly noteworthy" as stated in A Documentary History of Religion in America to 1877. This sermon spoke of the covenant between the God and the Puritans to create a holy community in the New World. Furthermore, it speaks of the consequences in the concluding part of the sermon as follows, "But if our heartes shall turne away soe that wee will not obey, but shall be seduced and worshipp other Gods our pleasures, and proffitts, and serue them, it is propounded vnto vs this day, wee shall surely perishe out of the good Land whether wee passe over this vast Sea to possesse it" .

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...y, the colonial law guided the society which influenced women's role in society. Each is linked in a cycle that never ended.

However, in the end it did end. The core elements which held the cycle together in the end had broken it. Women such as Anne Hutchinson and Mary Dyer allowed for different perspective. They brought about a change in the minds of an ignorant people. The Great Awakening, which brought about an increase in religious belief, played a role in decreasing prejudice and identification differences. Finally, although the concept of Republican Motherhood may have not been what we call ideal today, it did allow for the increased involvement role in politics as well as allow for them to be educated. Thus, what was once a Church-State became a new ideal: a separation of church and state. As much as religion shaped society, it became shaped by society itself.

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