English Dissidents in America Essay

Submitted By benrox42
Words: 1489
Pages: 6

Religious dissidents in England who sought to “purify” the Church of its Catholic ways founded the Puritan religion. Foreseeing political issues with this group, King Charles I granted a charter for the Puritans to start a colony in the New World. Around 50,000 Puritans left New England in what is called today “The Great Migration,” and traveled to the New World. Upon arriving to the New World, they sought to transplant England into the Americas, so they called it “New England.” Their ideas and values had a great influence in both a positive and negative on New England’s political, social, and economic development. One fundamental idea held by the Puritans was that no man or woman could question the rules set by the fathers of the Church. As stated in the Enlarged Salem covenant of 1636, “ In public or private, we will willingly do nothing to offend the church…” What they said was law. Essentially it was a theocracy. Dissidents who chose to question their teachings would be banished. Roger Williams, a dissident, said “ God requireth not a uniformity of religion to be enacted and enforced in any civil state; which enforced uniformity sooner or later in the greatest occasion of civil war.” What Roger Williams meant by this was that God does not want any state to restrict a religion. He believed it was hypocrisy what the Puritans were doing. This had an affect on political development of New England. And one of their many teachings was that magicians (such as witches) were advocated of the Devil. So all witch-like behavior was forbidden. One place where this idea was held was in a town known as Salem. In Salem, in the 1600s many trials known as the “Salem witch trials occurred.” People who wanted to gain power and grow high in the government would simply accuse another of being a witch. This slowed the political development of New England. While trying harder and harder to become a democracy this slowed the process down significantly. The Puritans also had many ideas and values that positively affected political growth in New England. A Puritan fundamental idea was equality. Every man, woman, and child was to be treated fairly. This essentially forced New England into being a democracy, which was an obvious positive. As John Winthrop, a Puritan and future governor of Massachusetts said, “Wee must be willing to abridge us of our superfluities, for the supply of others’ necessities…” This statement, while having very little social views, led to modern-day democracy. They never had a totalitarian government, a monarchy, or a dictatorship. They had a system of an absolute democracy. They held town meetings, where every man was able to vote on things pertaining to the colony. Husbands, brothers, or fathers represented women. This idea helped the New England government significantly. “ Idle hands, Idle minds are the workshop of the Devil.” This statement portrayed all one needs to know about the New England economic system established by the Puritans. What it means is that one must constantly be working for the good of others and for the good of the colony. A lazy man was frowned upon in the New World. As Captain John Smith said, “He who does not work, will not eat.” While Captain John Smith was from Virginia, his idea was one of the Puritans and New England. This improved the Economy greatly. With everyone working for the good of the colony, that colony would thrive. This is a reason that the New England colonies were much richer than the southern colonies. But it had many other benefits. Statistics showed that the life expectancy in New England was much greater than that in Virginia. The activeness made people live-longer. Robert Keane said in his last will and testament, “ testify to the world on my behalf that I have not lived an Idle, lazie, or dronish life no spent my time wantonly, fruitlessly, …” This exemplified the feeling of all Puritans of the time. He felt it was so important that he added it into his last