Puritan Definition: a member of a group of English Protestants who in the 16th and 17th centuries advocated strict religious discipline along with simplification of the ceremonies and creeds of the church of England.

  • One who lives in accordance with Protestant precepts, especially one who regards pleasure or luxury as a sin. The visual below gives a representation of how Puritans dressed.
external image puritans_engraving.jpg

Puritans and Colonial Americans
  • Historical Events

In 1569, Thomas Cartwright of Cambridge outlines the Puritan program.
In 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers sail to Massachusetts on the 'Mayflower'.
The Massachusetts Bay Company, the first major Puritan migration to New England took place in 1630.
English Law in 1641 makes witchcraft a capital crime.
Starting in 1692 with the trial of Bridget Bishop of Salem, who was found guilty and was hanged for his crime, many Puritans were suspected and charged with witchcraft. Thirteen women and five men from all stations of life followed her to the gallows on three successive hanging days before the court was disbanded by Governor William Phipps in October of that year.
  • New and/or Existing Laws

Main beliefs of Puritans:
  • Predestination (belief that Jesus and participation in the sacraments could not alone effect one's salvation; one cannot choose salvation, for that is the privilege of God alone).
  • Believed in Total-Depravity, everyone is born with Original Sin.
  • Elected Governors who protected core puritan values and to preach opposition to other churches' monarch system of power. Considered saints that have the power to interpret the will of God.
  • Preached values from The Bible to even the smallest details.
  • Typology, the belief that the interpretation of Old Testament events, persons, and ceremonies as signs which prefigured Christ's fulfillment and new covenant with the apostolic church).
  • Manifest Destiny Puritans wanted to expand western in America and spread the Puritan religion.

  • Technological Advances/Inventions

  • Many important advances/ inventions were made during this time frame including:
  • 1709- Bartolomeo Cristofori invents the piano (seen below)

  • external image CRISTOFORI-PIANO.jpg

  • 1752- Benjamin Franklin invents the lightening rod.

  • 1775- Alexander Cummings invents the flush toilet.

  • 1776- David Bushnell invents a submarine

  • many more inventions : http://inventors.about.com/od/timelines/a/Eighteenth.htm

  • Political and Social Issues

  • Puritans were a group of English Protestants who traveled to America to search for further "purity" in the church. This desire to search for social reform within the Catholic church was the biggest social issue facing them which is why they felt it necessary to start a new life in America.
  • Political issues did not occur often since the Puritan movement was so new to everyone. Instead religious issues (such as new versions of Catholic ceremonies) were much more important to the Puritans.
  • Each person had to be individually responsible to God, and people of opposing views were either asked to leave the community, or to be converted

  • Economic Status

  • The Puritans had good, healthy economy and were a very organized society.
  • During this time period, the Puritans introduced the concept of a manufacturing and trade economy.

  • Popular Interests
  • Interests of this time were all centered around religion. Puritans enjoyed religious ceremonies and town gatherings. Yet all Puritans knew not too enjoy themselves too much as they had to follow the strict rules of their "pure" religion.
  • A lot of women chose to weave in their spare time, making clothes and blankets.
  • Since they were busy most of the time doing farming, cooking or cleaning; there wasn't a lot of spare time for the Puritans in the first place. Little girls had dolls to play with, or helped their mothers sew or do chores.
  • The VIDEO below represents the daily life of a Puritan family.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WbxiPMg0nQ

  • Literature and Major Writers

Anne Bradstreet - "The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, By a Gentlewoman of Those Part" (First book written by a woman published in US) Wrote about the struggles of a Puritan housewife.
Michael Wigglesworth - "The Day of Doom"
Edward Taylor - "Upon a Spider Catching a Fly", "The Ebb and Flow", "God’s Determination"
Cotton Mather - "Christian Philosopher" (1721)

New England Primer