Puritans Values Essay Paper

“I THINK I can see the whole destiny of America contained in the first Puritan who landed on those shores,” the French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville wrote after visiting the United States in the 1830s. Was he right? Do present-day Americans still exhibit, in their attitudes and behavior, traces of those austere English Protestants who started arriving in the country in the early 17th century?

It seems we do. Consider a series of experiments conducted by researchers led by the psychologist Eric Luis Uhlmann and published last year in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. In one study, they investigated whether the work habits of today’s Americans reflected the so-called Protestant work ethic. Martin Luther and John Calvin argued that work was a calling from God. They also believed in predestination and viewed success as a sign of salvation. This led to belief in success as a path to salvation: hard work and good deeds would bring rewards, in life and after.

In the study, American and Canadian college students were asked to solve word puzzles involving anagrams. But first, some were subtly exposed to (or “primed” with) salvation-related words like “heaven” and “redeem,” while others were exposed to neutral words. The researchers found that the Americans — but not the Canadians — solved more anagrams with salvation on the mind. They worked harder.

Professor Uhlmann and his colleagues also conducted an experiment to see if Americans shared the prudishness of the Puritans. They found that American students judged promiscuous women more harshly than British students did.

In a third experiment, the researchers asked Asian-Americans to rate their support for a school principal who had canceled a prom because of sexually charged dancing and also to rate their support for a school that had banned revealing clothing. But first, the researchers primed the participants with thoughts of either their Asian or their American heritage, as well as with thoughts of work or another topic. They found that the participants showed increased approval of the prudish school officials when primed with thoughts of work — if they had also been primed with their American heritage, but not when primed with their Asian heritage. These results suggest a tight Puritanical intermingling of work, sex and morality in the American mind.

In none of these studies did the results hinge on the participants’ religious affiliation or level of religious feeling. Whatever these Americans explicitly believed (or didn’t believe) about God, something like Puritan values seemed to be guiding their moral judgments.

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& # 8230 ; Reasons For Essay, Research Paper

A Puritan is a individual who pours righteous outrage into the incorrect things. 1 Confronting spiritual persecution in England, the Puritans fled Europe. They constructed an intolerant authorities because to Puritans Toleration meant allowing mistake. 2 Puritanism finally led to its ain diminution in New England because it refused to accept rival spiritual groups, critics and merchandisers. The Great Awakening, although welcomed at first, finally severely damaged what remained of the cloth of Puritanism. 3

Escaping persecution in England, the Puritans found themselves oppressing others in New England. One group which Puritan curates, such as John Cotton, Increase Mather, and Cotton Mather, tried to ostracize from New England was the Quakers. In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the General Court passed Torahs that would ticket one hundred lbs to any shipmaster who brought a Friend into the settlement. Any settler found holding a Quaker book would be fined five lbs. If a Quaker was found in Massachusetts, he would be arrested, whipped and so exiled. Puritan leaders made it hard for a Quaker, or even a Puritan who was tolerant of Religious society of friendss, to populate in peace. A non-Puritan occupant of New England was made to experience like a Puritan occupant of Britain. However, Puritan persecution was non limited to merely one group of people. Their persecution was directed towards the Quakers, but Puritans as well.4

Two Puritans who experienced the abrasiveness of the Puritanical authorities of New England were Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams. Anne Hutchinson challenged Puritan orthodoxy. She believed that taking a holy life was non a certain mark that one would be salvaged and that those who were predestined need non follow the Torahs of adult male or God. Hutchinson believed that piousness had grown iciness in the Black Marias of the ministry, and thereby in the people. 5 The Puritan magistrates banished her from the Massachusetts Bay Colony fearing that she would do unrest, and poison the heads of other members of the fold. Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts every bit good. He vehemently rejected the thought that Puritans had a particular, divinely ordained duty from God. He felt that it was impossible for any community as a whole to be covenanted with God.6 Williams chastised the authorities and clergy of New England. He finally founded the settlement of Rhode Island and established Providence as its capi

tal ; A adjustment name for a metropolis that tolerated Jews, Quakers, Puritans and others.7 The presence of a tolerating settlement near to theirs made Massachusetts and Connecticut Puritans uncomfortable. 8 Puritan Ministers realized that their influence in colonial New England was diminishing. Religious critics and dissidents were non the lone people who caused their lessening in influence ; the go uping merchandiser category contributed every bit good.

Although the Puritan commonwealth began as a self-sufficing one, merchandisers finally created a system of trade affecting England and the Caribbean, otherwise known as the Triangle Trade. This brought wealth to some New Englanders, but it besides brought all into contact with the outside universe. Many merchandisers finally had the power to order the monetary values of points and footings of recognition. They expanded their influence by buying big packages of land. They realized that intolerance was bad for their concern image ; they sought to extinguish the Torahs that prevented those who opposed Puritanism from settling in Massachusetts.9 Some Puritans, such as Max Weber, R.H. Tawney and David Little, believed that the Puritan accent on intelligence and career contributed to the growing of the mercenary society that was developing in the colonies.10

The Great Awakening, a spiritual resurgence throughout the settlements, restored prosperity to the Puritan tradition temporarily. Puritanism decayed because it lost its position as the alone spiritual force in much of New England. Evangelists of Christianity, non merely Puritanism, but Methodism, Calvinism and Unitarianism, began to construct schools in New England. Secularism and spiritual liberalism were both deriving followings while Puritanism was losing protagonists. Although Puritanism experienced a resurgence, it was ephemeral.

Puritanism in New England led to its ain death due to its refusal to accept rival spiritual groups, critics and merchandisers. The Great Awakening besides contributed to the diminution in that it promoted other faiths, pulling Puritans off from their severe manner of life. The Quakers, Anne Hutchinson, and Roger Williams were all banished from New England. Merchants were able to derive a fastness in the economic system of Puritanical New England, giving them a significant sum of power. Although Puritanism is non every bit influential as it one time was in one s life, The terminal of the influence of Puritanism has non yet been reached. 11


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