History 3.3
September 11-13, 2001

The 17th-century Origins of the South and North, 
Part 2: New England

I. The Protestant Reformation and the Puritan Migration

A. The Protestant attack on the worldliness and human-centeredness of the Catholic Church, begun by Martin Luther, 1517.

1. Catholic doctrines & procedures under attack: sacramental powers, "transubstantiation," indulgences.

2. Some basic Protestant doctrines: free grace; sola scriptura; "priesthood of all believers"; opposition to most Catholic rituals & holidays; strict personal morality.

3. Calvinism as extreme form of Protestantism, heavy on original sin: doctrines of election & limited atonement.

4. What New England Calvinists: Congregationalism, limited church membership and "visible saints."

B. The Calvinists Who Came to New England

1. Church of England was nominally Protestant, but still too Catholic for many people.

2. Two types of religious colonists: Pilgrims (Separatists) and Puritans (Non-separating Congregationalists).

3. Puritan political power in England and the English Revolution (beg. 1642).

4. Summary: Separatists wanted to live & worship according to God's word themselves; Puritans wanted to everyone to do so.

C. The "Great Migration" to New England, 1630-1641

1. John Winthrop and the Massachusetts Bay Company.

2. The communal, family-oriented structure of the Puritan migration.

3. Sudden end of the migration, lack of further immigration, and resulting lack of diversity in New England society.

II. Life and "Liberty" in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

A. Social and economic contrasts with Virginia

1. Tight & very English settlement patterns. Contrast with Virginia.

2. Traditional European patriarchal families, if not more so.

3. Diversified economy.

B. Sovereignty of the Saints: Governing Massachusetts Bay

1. Common misconception: That Puritans came for religious freedom.

2. Creating a new England as an example for the old one to follow, a "city on a hill."

3. Beginnings of American exceptionalism: Puritan sense of themselves as chosen people, a test case.

4. "Established" (tax-supported) churches, membership in which defined political rights.

5. For white male church members, more political rights than in England: General Court, town meetings.

6. Influential role of ministers

7. Puritan "liberty" and the Puritan belief in government regulation of personal behavior.

8. Persecution of religious dissent: Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson.

9. Harshness of Puritan penalties.

C. Upsides of Puritan tradition: education, community, institution building and socially responsible, activist government.