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Puritanism In The 17th Century And The First Great Awakening

Puritanism In The 17th Century And The First Great Awakening In The 18th Century

Puritanism in the seventeenth century and the First Great Awakening in the eighteenth century influenced the development of American society. Like the formation of most societies, people moved from one area to another because of differences with the controlling ideas or beliefs of political authorities. England’s political, economic, and religious environments were threatening to the Puritans. They came to America with new ideas to form an ideal society where everyone could participate. The Great Awakening led to the diversification of Protestant-Christianity. Differences in beliefs between the religious leaders and the intellectuals of the Enlightenment and rivalries among themselves contributed to the formation of new Protestant denominations and a broader tolerance in the society.

Puritans traveled to New England in the early seventeenth century. They believed that economic and political forces and religious disagreements were creating a decline in English society. John Winthrop, sailing with a group of Puritans, preached that they should create a society in which the rich and the poor depended on each other and all could benefit from lack of greed and fair wages. Government and religion had a close relationship. The Puritans believed that government could prevent merchants from making excessive profits. They intended to make the strength of the community more important than the individual. Everyone had to attend the church and tithe, yet not everyone was considered a saint unless they professed their faith. The town meetings and church services were held in the same meetinghouse. Puritans believed that literacy was important in order to have knowledge of the scriptures. The beginning of public education came about when an act was passed requiring the appointment of a teacher for a town of fifty or more households, and to maintain a grammar school in towns with over one hundred households. The Puritans included more participation by citizens in the institutions than had been allowed in England. Not all voters had to hold property, and as a result, more than half of the colony’s men could vote. When the power of the governor and council was thought to be too great, the towns sent two delegates to the General Court. This Court eventually became a form of a House of Representatives. The break by Puritans from English domination, and the community Puritans established in New England, created some...

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