Define Puritanism and Democracy and show how they were a mixed legacy.

Essay by merlin1557College, UndergraduateA+, September 2003

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From Inequality to Equality

In "Puritanism and Democracy: A Mixed Legacy," Stephen Foster shows how, despite their assumptions of inequality, the government established in Massachusetts by the Puritans, evolved into something that was never intended; a government based on democracy. To be a Puritan was to be a member of "simply the most important body of people since the Apostles" (pg 23). Puritans felt it was their job, their divine duty, to establish a pure society based on God's word. They would be "as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are upon" them (pg 24). Meaning they believed they would be this pure, godly society that the rest of the world would notice and strive to emulate. They loved their Mother England very much and were hoping to purge from her Catholicism, and their acceptability for things not of God. After they created a successful godly society, they believed they would be able to go back to England and re-create it there.

Puritans were somewhat intolerant and seemed to believe that if someone did not believe as they did, then that person's opinion did not matter. When someone did try to voice an opinion that was different from theirs, then that person was considered a heretic and was forced out of town. The Puritans did re-create some of the English ways and techniques as they saw necessary, but they did not re-create all of them. The Puritans believed heavily in building a society based on biblical principle derived from the Bible as interpreted by the elected few. Puritan social values called not just for "good bookkeeping, but for subordination, inequality, authority, unity, suppression of the individual will for the good of the whole" (pg 25). Basically, this amounted to the society agreeing that...