Puritan Beliefs and Values

Essay by egbball14High School, 11th gradeA+, March 2004

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Puritan Beliefs and Values

A. Predestination--all events are foreknown and foreordained by God

B. Election--God chooses who is saved and who is damned. Nagging Puritan question: "Am I saved?"

C. Value of education

1. Publicly supported schools needed to oppose Satan ("Old Deluder" laws)

2. Harvard founded in 1636 to train ministers

3. Probably 70% of New England literate in 1770

D. Intolerance--error must be opposed and driven out

II. Puritan Political Life

A. Voting restricted to church members

B. Blurring of political and religious authority--theocracy, not democracy

C. Halfway Covenant developed to allow unbaptized members (children of Puritans) to vote and thus preserve influence of Puritan authorities.

Puritan Contributions

A. Self-government and community responsibility

1) Democracy in church rule led to democracy in town meeting

2) All community members responsible for conduct of citizens

B. Education critical for individual and community success

C. Hard work and thrift demanded of all

D. High standards of moral excellence and conscience (John Winthrop--"City Upon a Hill")