Maypole Mayhem: Puritan Canceling of May Day, and Attacking Native Americans, in 1628

The Puritans had little tolerance for those who didn’t conform to their vision of the world. Introduction Ever since the ancient Romans decided to honor the agricultural goddess Flora with lewd spectacles in the Circus Maximus, the beginning of May has signaled the coming of spring, a time of revival after a long, dark winter. In[…]

Religious Beliefs and Superstition in Colonial America

The New England Colonies each insisted their interpretation of Christianity was correct and others were wrong Introduction Religion and superstition went hand in hand in Colonial America, and one’s belief in the first confirmed the validity of the second. The Anglican settlers who established Jamestown Colony of Virginia in 1607 and the Puritans who settled the New England Colonies 1620-1630 were Protestant[…]

Religion in Colonial America

Interpretations of the Bible and practices differed between one settlement or colony and another. Introduction Religion in Colonial America was dominated by Christianity although Judaism was practiced in small communities after 1654. Christian denominations included Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics, Congregationalists, German Pietists, Lutherans, Methodists, and Quakers among others. The New England Colonies had been founded by separatists – Anglicans who advocated separation from[…]

Puritan Persecution of Non-Protestants in Colonial America

Although they were victims of religious persecution in Europe, the Puritans supported and pursued it in the colonies against others. Introduction The Persecuted become the Persecutors Although they were victims of religious persecution in Europe, the Puritans supported the Old World theory that sanctioned it, the need for uniformity of religion in the state. Once[…]

The Rise and Fall of Puritan Theocracy in Early Colonial Massachusetts

Starting with the 1620 Plymouth covenant, religion colored Massachusetts law. One of the reasons New England towns were small was so families could walk to required church services. As was the case in Lenox, the meeting house was part of initial town development and was used for both religious and civic meetings. As of 1647,[…]

Why the Puritans Cracked Down on Celebrating Christmas

It was less about their asceticism and more about rejecting the world they had fled. Introduction When winter cold settles in across the U.S., the alleged “War on Christmas” heats up. In recent years, department store greeters and Starbucks cups have sparked furor by wishing customers “happy holidays.” This year, with state officials warning of[…]

Theocratic Puritanism: Religious Intolerance in Colonial New England

They hoped to bring about the reform of theocratic Protestantism throughout the English Empire. Introduction After the arrival of the original Separatist “pilgrims” in 1620, a second, larger group of English Puritans emigrated to New England. The second wave of English Puritans established the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the New Haven Colony, and Rhode Island. These[…]

The Puritans “Purify”: Theocracy in Colonial Massachusetts

Any idea of separation of church and state was anathema until our Framers, knowing this history, guaranteed it. By Murray N. Rothbard The Massachusetts colony was organized in towns. The church congregation of each town selected its minister. Unlike the thinly populated, extensive settlement of Virginia, the clustering in towns was ideal for having the[…]

The Puritans and Civil Religion

The fact that the Puritans had left England to escape religious persecution did not mean that they believed in religious tolerance. Introduction The bravery and initiative of the Puritans served as a source of inspiration for colonists during the Revolutionary War. Later, the framers of the Constitution would look to the Puritan era in history[…]

God, Government, and Roger Williams’ Big Idea

The Puritan minister originated a principle that remains contentious to this day—separation of church and state. Even the most bitter opponents of Roger Williams recognized in him that combination of charm, confidence and intensity a later age would call charisma. They did not regard such traits as assets, however, for those traits only made the[…]

Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans and Theocracy in the 17th Century

They wanted to bring about the reform of Protestantism throughout the English Empire. “A City upon a Hill” A much larger group of English Puritans left England in the 1630s, establishing the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the New Haven Colony, the Connecticut Colony, and Rhode Island. Unlike the exodus of young men to the Chesapeake colonies,[…]

Thanksgiving and the Puritan Separatists Who Arrived Aboard the Mayflower

The overcrowded vessel’s crossing took more than two harrowing months. In 1620, the Mayflower plowed across the Atlantic through headwinds and ocean currents at an incredibly slow two miles per hour. The overcrowded vessel’s crossing took more than two harrowing months. On the way, its 102 passengers witnessed an astonishing scene. During a fierce storm, an indentured[…]