The Puritans were English Protestants that came to America around 1630. John Winthrop led the Puritans to America in hopes of creating a pure Christian society separate from the authority of the State and the Church of England. They followed the beliefs of John Calvin who preached predestination. Under Calvinism each individual is born being chosen by God either for eternal salvation or damnation. The Puritans modeled their lives, both personal and within their communities, after the New Testament. They created strong, functional, and for some time successful societies in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the town of Boston. The Puritans taught mainly reading as writing and math skills were not felt to be important. Establishing the first schools for children, they also founded the first American College, Harvard.
Additionally, the Puritans governed their communities democratically but only allowed male church members to vote. Puritanism was declared the official state religion and all other religious practices were banned. The Puritan religion was to be followed by community members through conversion or they were asked to leave. Gender equality was only considered within the meaning of being saved by God. Otherwise, women were inferior to men and must obey them in every aspect of their lives. Also, women were not allowed to lead prayer or worship meetings, nor could they be preachers or ministers. The Puritans lived faithfully by the words and laws of the Bible. They saw themselves to be like the Israelites being liberated by God from oppression and were chosen to fulfill an established, pure, Christian commonwealth.
Differences between the Puritans and other religions were numerous. Although God was the central focu...
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...where people gathered to worship and fellowship whereas the Puritans saw Church as an actual structure or building. Since the Quakers believed so strongly in equality, there was so special treatment given or heeded to social classes or clergy. The Puritan’s well-educated clergy and higher societal members were given more respect and thought to be God’s chosen few. Unlike the Puritans, Quakers felt God could speak directly to any one person and not only through the words of the Bible.
The Puritans came to the New World in hopes of establishing their religion as the only accepted faith. In my opinion, they became exactly like those that they fled from in England. Their closed minded views kept them from spreading the word of God and closed themselves off from saving others. Their persecution and intolerance of other religions bound their hands and communities.
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