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
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
"Great Migration" to New England, 1630-1641
1. John Winthrop and the Massachusetts Bay Company.
2. The communal, family-oriented structure of the
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
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
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.