The Puritan Community
The Puritan Community HIST 1311
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Angela Dela Llana
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Angela Dela Llana on Friday September 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 1311 at University of Texas at Arlington taught by Stephen Maizlish in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see American History in History at University of Texas at Arlington.
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Date Created: 09/02/16
HIST 1311 The Puritan Community I. The Dual Image of American Puritanism II. Social Control and Social Equality A. Family B. Women C. Marriage D. Children E. Sex III. The Puritan Concept of Community IV. The Passage of Time V. The Temptations of Place VI. Material Success— The New England Merchants VII. Witchcraft and the End of the Community VIII. Puritan Legacy The Dual Image of American Puritanism The Puritans are seen as a society that broke away from oppression and formed a new community that was very close with each other. The beginnings of a democracy began to appear with their newly acquired freedom. On the other hand, the Puritans are also seen as prudish and somber. Everyone looked at each other and made sure no one sinned. There were many restrictions. Was it an open society or a controlling society? Social Control and Social Equality Being in a family was the main way of controlling sin. (Remember how the Puritans believed that being in a community was important so everyone could keep an eye on each other. No one could be alone and away from the community and risk sinning.) Within the family, the man was in charge. Women were seen as evil because of the story of the Garden of Eden in the Bible. However, women had more rights in Puritan society than they did in England. Women could: 1. Make contracts 2. Own one-third of family estate 3. Control children from a previous marriage 4. Join in decisions to sell family property Notes by Angela Dela Llana 5. Have business licenses Puritan marriages were state-controlled. The state had the right to intervene and make the marriages work somehow. Married Puritans could not divorce. If they didn t want to be together anymore, they were banished. However, Puritan courts could punish abusive partners within the marriage. Past accounts show that one man was punished for abusing wife after he had pushed her into the fireplace. One woman was warned for beating her husband and wishing that he might choke on his food. According to the Bible, children had to honor their mother and father. If they were ages 16 or older, children could be put to death for cursing at their parents. However, this practice wasn t enforced. Puritans practiced putting out their children. When a child turns 14, they re sent to another family to be disciplined for 7 years. The goal of this practice was to maintain family love and relationship. Puritans had strong rules against sex before marriage and adultery, but they were leniently enforced. If a couple was caught having sex before marriage, they were encouraged to get married right away. Puritans made fun of Catholics for pushing celibacy. The Puritan Concept of Community The Puritans had a very tight society with both strict rules and leniency. It was tough to get into the community, but it was a caring and tightknit community. The Passage of Time At first, Puritans were very demanding and insistent of the regulations they had put in place for a successful mission. This was because of what they saw in England. However, their children and other new members didn t have the same experiences. Therefore, they lacked the enthusiasm of the first Puritan settlers. The Temptations of Place Puritan settlers were expanding into America s interior. This was for economic reasons. They gathered and sold resources to new immigrants. Notes by Angela Dela Llana The Puritan settlers kept on moving farther from the coast to gather resources. Eventually, they moved too far and couldn t return home easily. This led them to establish new towns with new churches. These new settlements couldn t be observed as carefully. The people in the new towns tried to be as Puritan as possible, but straying away a bit from the original Puritan ideas was unavoidable. Churches started having different ideas. It was difficult to be a city upon a hill if the city was more like a region. Puritan settlement had grown too large and couldn t be easily managed. Material Success— The New England Merchants Puritans encouraged material success. To them, it was a sign that a person was saved (guaranteed a place in heaven). The New England Merchants were models of society. They were very successful with trading. 20 years after the first Puritans arrive in America, England became more tolerant of Puritans. They no longer felt the need to escape to America, and new immigration slowed down considerably. Merchants could no longer sell to new Puritan immigrants. They had to break through the isolation and sell to outsiders, which made Puritans uneasy. Trading with outsiders meant that new non-Puritan ideas could make their way into the community. Soon, the Puritan community was no longer an isolated society. New ideas, beliefs, and values made their way into the community. Puritans expressed their distress at the sight of so many strangers and loose people. Merchants controlled everything, from shops and houses. Their goal wasn t to destroy the Puritan community, since they were Puritans too. For the community to survive morally and spiritually, they had to stay tightknit and isolated, but to survive physically, they had to bring in outsiders. Witchcraft and the End of the Community A number of hurricanes came and swept through the Puritan settlements. They began to wonder if God was punishing them. Notes by Angela Dela Llana The Puritans felt guilty for the new corruption in their community. This resulted in them blaming others and calling them witches. Numerous sightings were reported for a number of years. All of the sudden, the witches disappear. The community had become so distant from the original Puritan values and stopped feeling guilty, so they no longer felt the need to blame others. Puritan Legacy The Puritans cemented the idea that society has the right to watch over people and maintain morality. While people have their individual rights, the government can control how people behave. Examples of this include anti-slavery, alcohol prohibition, and even anti-abortion. Notes by Angela Dela Llana
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