In 1534, British King Henry VIII severed ties with
the Roman Catholic Church and created the
Church of England (Anglican Church)
The Church of England remained very similar to
the Catholic Church except that it did not
recognize the pope as supreme authority.
In the early 17th Century, extremely conservative
religious groups did not like this direction and set
sail to the newly “discovered” America.
Puritans or Pilgrims?
colony in Plymouth,
Broke completely with
the Church of England
Colony around present
day Salem and Boston
in the 1630s
Attempted to reform
the Church of England
Flagship: The Arbella
Followers believed in the teachings of John
Calvin taught that human beings were depraved
sinners and that God had chosen only an
unknown few for salvation.
Those not chosen by God were condemned to
No one really knew if he or she was saved or damned;
Puritans lived in a constant state of spiritual anxiety,
searching for signs of God's favor or anger.
Being good was not enough. It was important to be
converted in the soul.
Individuality was frowned upon. Conformity to
religious beliefs was required and dissent was only
tolerated under strict limits.
Governments were also to be held responsible for the
salvation of the people. (NO SEPARATION OF
CHURCH AND STATE!)
Hard work and self-discipline were very important
Puritans strongly disapproved of sexual relations
outside of marriage, of drunkenness, and of activities
such as gambling, drama (acting), and celebrating
holidays, such as Christmas.
Puritans considered the woods the home of the
Devil. But what, or who, is in the woods?
Puritans believed in demonic forces, such as
witchcraft and magic, which were sent to tempt
Salem Witch Trials
Refers to a series of hearings around Salem, Mass. from
May 1692 to May 1693 in which courts attempted to
prosecute men and women accused of witchcraft.
Any accusation of witchcraft would be taken seriously,
while denials would not be.
Overall, 19 people were executed during the witch trials
and several others died while in jail.
This is the setting (time and place)for The Crucible by
Decline of Puritanism
By the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Puritanism was
on a clear decline.
Fiery speakers such as Jonathan Edwards (P. 72)
brought a brief revival of Puritanism in New England in
the late 1720s and early 1730s, but this did not last
Blame for decline
Puritans blamed this decline on swearing; a
tendency to sleep at sermons; the spread of sex
and alcohol, especially in taverns, where women
were known to bare their arms and, upon
occasion, even their breasts; and, most telling,
the marked increase in lying and lawsuits.
Puritanism’s Effect on America
While there are not many “Puritans” in America today,
their influence is still felt. Here are some of the believed
Hard work and discipline are valued work traits
Survival and self-sufficiency
The quest for religious freedom, while being intolerant of
A negative view of alcohol
A negative portrayal of sexuality and of the human body