History: Sociology and Puritans Essay

Submitted By bruhbreh123
Words: 763
Pages: 4

At the turn of the 17th century, a religious group known as the Puritans began to journey to the New World. Back in their home country, England, they were persecuted for their religious beliefs. They journeyed to this new land to gain religious freedom and to create what they believed to be a perfect society. The beliefs of the Puritans in the New England colonies shaped the political, social and economic development in these new colonies. The puritans affected the political development of the New England colonies through their ideas of the government supporting “god’s laws” and their ideas of inclusive government. One of the primary beliefs of the Puritans was that the government should support god’s laws. Nathaniel Ward’s The Simple Cobbler of Aggawam describes how the Puritans believed that the state government should uphold the beliefs of the church [Doc. G].
The Puritans believed that government should uphold the moral code established by their religious founders. Some of these beliefs were common sense laws that most government had in place, but others such as forcing people to go to church on Sunday and requiring individuals to participate in church activities, directly brought church into the government, which shaped the politics of the New England colonies. Another way that the Puritans affected the political system of the New England colonies was through their system of having a small group of “elect” control the government. As John Cotton outlines in his “Limitation of Government”, the Puritans believed that a social hierarchy that they called the “elect” should run the government [Doc. H].
They believed that not everyone was fit to run the government, and that only those who were holy and virtuous enough should be able to make decisions. These “elect” once appointed just reinforced the Puritan beliefs in the government and did not allow for any sort of change in the way that things were run. The Puritans greatly influenced the political system of the New England colonies.
The Puritans also affected the New England colonies’ social systems. The Puritans believed in modest practices when it came to social life. Cursing, indecent clothing, and public affection all went against the Puritan ways and were strictly frowned upon. These rules, although not completely official were enforced with fines and beatings. These rules and orders increased the difference in Puritan social classes.
Another way that the Puritans influenced the colonies’ social system was through their large focus on education. A statement about education in New England showed that the Puritans had a primary focus on education [Doc. E]. Residents of the New England colonies were often very educated which differed from many of the other colonies, and this was primarily due to the Puritans’ focus on education. They used their system of schools to instill their ideas of religion and social ideals into the minds of children, which directly affected the social systems of New England.