The Puritan Movement Of The Massachusetts Bay Colony Essay

The Puritan Movement Of The Massachusetts Bay Colony Essay

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When the Massachusetts Bay Colony was established in 1630 with the goal of escaping the corruption of the Anglican Church, the colonists quickly established the precedent that Puritanism was the only righteous form of Protestantism. This belief continued for many years and consequently spurred a number of conflicts between the Puritans and other religious groups that were deemed as threatening to their ideals. Following the Great Migration in the mid-1600s, the Puritans exercised a strict devotion to their religious beliefs in order to “purify” the Anglican Church, thus making Massachusetts Bay Colony an unwelcoming environment to religious dissenters. However, due to the circumstances of the First Great Awakening, by 1750 the Massachusetts Bay Colony experienced a new surge of religious pluralism.
In the early years of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Puritans persecuted many radical thinkers for beliefs that contradicted Puritan values. Roger Williams exemplified radical thinking in many of his ideas as they far surpassed the principles of rigid Puritanism, specifically in his identification as “an avowed Separatist.” Contrary to the Puritan goal of merely purifying the Anglican Church, Williams felt “no attachment whatever to the Church of England.” The Puritan goal was solely to create a more extensive reformation of England, not to sever their ties completely. In order to live peacefully in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the mid-1600s, one needed to abide by all Puritan principles, which included the goal to “purify” the Anglican Church. Radicalism, to the Puritans, needed to be eradicated from the Massachusetts Bay Colony as it would threaten the uniformity of Puritan beliefs and hinder their overall mission to creat...


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...shly the Quakers.” The Puritan’s outrage over Quaker preaching in Massachusetts Bay Colony led to the creation of laws designed to suppress their teaching. When the laws proved to be ineffective, the Puritan resentment resulted in public execution of Quakers. The conflict between the Quakers and the Puritans illustrated the growing matter of a lack of religious toleration in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. For Williams and Hutchinson, their punishment was banishment. However, only a few years later, groups of Quakers were being executed on the Boston Common. To the Puritans, the presence of Quakers in their community interfered with their mission to create a purified, holy colony. Although the mid-1600s did not appear promising for religious expansion in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the First Great Awakening in the 1730s marked a growing shift in religious pluralism.

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