I. Puritan Beliefs and Values
A. Predestination--all events are foreknown and foreordained by God
B. Election--God chooses who is saved and who is damned. Nagging Puritan question: "Am I saved?"
C. Value of education
1. Publicly supported schools needed to oppose Satan ("Old Deluder" laws)
2. Harvard founded in 1636 to train ministers
3. Probably 70% of New England literate in 1770
D. Intolerance--error must be opposed and driven out
1. Persecution and expulsion of Anne Hutchinson (1638)
a) Criticized ministers for not preaching covenant of grace
b) Held religious meetings in her home
c) Challenged the political and religious leadership of Massachusetts Bay.
2. Roger Williams expelled for "new and dangerous opinions" ((1638)
a) Preached complete separation of church and state--the state should have no influence over a person's conscience
b) Religious groups should be supported by voluntary tithes, not taxes
c) Indians should be paid for lands.
d) Settled Rhode Island and established complete freedom of religion (including Jews, Catholics, and Quakers)
3. Puritans persecuted and killed Quakers (such as Mary Dyer) for preaching "inner light" doctrines.
II. Puritan Political Life
A. Voting restricted to church members
B. Blurring of political and religious authority--theocracy, not democracy
C. Halfway Covenant developed to allow unbaptized members (children of Puritans) to vote and thus preserve influence of Puritan authorities.
III. Salem Witchcraft Crisis (1692)
A. Group of girls accused fellow villagers of witchcraft
B. Trials (featuring "spectral evidence" and body searches for birthmarks) resulted in convictions of many and executions of 20 people and 2 dogs.
C. Reaction resulted in anti-Puritan sentiment, weakening of Puritan authority, and apologies from some religious leaders
IV. Puritan Contributions
A. Self-government and community responsibility
1) Democracy in church rule led to democracy in town meeting
2) All community members responsible for conduct of citizens
B. Education critical for individual and community success
C. Hard work and thrift demanded of all
D. High standards of moral excellence and conscience (John Winthrop--"City Upon a Hill")
Feldmeth, Greg D. "U.S. History Resources"
http://home.earthlink.net/~gfeldmeth/USHistory.html (31 March 1998).
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