Puritans: Massachusetts Bay Colony and New World Essay

Submitted By nikkipapadas
Words: 991
Pages: 4

Journalist Alistair Cooke wrote, “People, when they first come to America, whether as travelers or settlers, become aware of a new and agreeable feeling: that the whole country is their oyster.” This proved to be true with the Puritans and their arrival in the new world. They traveled to the New World to escape religious persecution from the Church of England. They were pushed out for being too extreme. The new land provided so many opportunities yet to be discovered. The new life seemed so promising. With the new opportunities came potential for disaster as well. The Puritans found out quickly, settling in New England was not easy. They had to work hard to keep the colony running. Changes would need to be made if the New England colony wanted to stay alive. In coming to the New World, Puritans found the experience they expected, but not as easily as they anticipated. In all, the tendency of English colonists to form like-minded colonies was crucial to the success of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
To the Puritans, the idea of the “City on a Hill” was perfection. A city where everyone wanted to follow the exact word of the bible. Everyone would live each day to be saved by the almighty God. They wanted their city to be the as if it was the Holy City of God. They quickly found this idea to be difficult. John Winthrop writes home to his wife, “It is now bed tyme, but I must lye alone, therefore I make less haste.”(p. 11). Winthrop continues to write home to his wife telling her how difficult it is in this new world, but how much he wants her to come. The community has a strong idea of the society they want to become and work together to achieve it. Within the communities “Families became little cells of righteousness where the mother and father disciplined not only their children but also their servants and any boarders they might take in” (p. 65). The people of the colony all wanted the same eternal life and would do anything to get it. The reason the colony survived and achieved their mission was due to the like-mindedness of the colonists and their mission to create this ideal community.
The “City on a Hill” had an important impact on the Church of England. The Church of England had the power to “police the orthodoxy of individual churches. Congregationalism allowed no central organization: every church was independent.”(p.73) The Puritans showed the Church that they could do something that they had never done, “They had accepted a commission which required them to follow a specific body of religious principles; but among those principles was one which encouraged the development of schism and another which denied them the means of preventing it.”(p. 73). They proved to the Church of England that the impossible could be done. They could run a successful colony and church under guidelines the Church of England said would have never worked. This is another reason that the Puritans succeeded in their mission, proving the Church of England that their way of life was possible and would prosper.
Not everyone believed in John Winthrop’s perfect “City on a Hill”. Separatism posed a huge threat to the Puritan’s idea of a perfect city. Separatists such as Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson threatened to tear the community apart. There was many causes of separatism through the colony. It is nearly impossible to have every person in the community to agree with every decision made. Anne was a strong headed woman who wanted to pursue the gospel. Winthrop had more power than her. He did not like the way she was preaching the gospel. It was not the way of the bible and she was banished from the colony; “I desire to know wherefore I am banished, Winthrop gave the shabby final word: “Say no more, the court know…