The Puritans were some of the first to
initiate the idea that a society needs the
freedom to pursue religion according to
each person’s own interpretation, not one
under the rule of the church.
They believed no Earthly government
Freedom of Religion
was absolute and the kings were also
subject to the law.
The Puritan communities felt that they
should be very closely bonded with one
another; that individual duties were
important, but also community duties as
Puritans believed very heavily in
spirituality and that God must remain as
the sole priority in each person’s life.
The puritans inspired people
to believe that it was their
duty to overthrow
governments when they
became corrupt. This led to
the killing of King Charles and
also the separation between
the United States and Great
Britain. Many inspirations
from their beliefs can be found
in many important documents
like The Declaration of
Independence and Common
The Enlightenment was a
time of great change among
the people. There was a
transition from the idea of
being controlled by another,
to the thought of selfindividualism. People began
breaking away from the
common thought that the
governments were in
control. People wanted the
right to practice religion on
their own terms.
All men were created equal
under one God.
Freedom of Religion
There must be a separation
between church and state.
One’s intellectual strength
would create a more substantial
and increasingly better human
Democracy and freedom were
God given rights to everyone.
Break away from the church
for individual spiritualism.
John Calvin-Taught that God was the
all powerful and one and only.
John Winthrop- Told people if they
honor their obligations to God, they
would be blessed.
Oliver Cromwell- Intensely religious
man. He was also an English military
leader. He believed God was leading
his victories in battle.
William Bradford- Served as the
colony’s governor for over 30 years.
He also was responsible for writing
“Of Plymouth Plantation.”
Ultimately the main idea of The
Enlightenment was to change the
current mentality of the people. People
began to have a thirst for the
understanding of God and society.
One cause of The Enlightenment was
the sudden increase of knowledge.
People began making their own
assumptions and stopped listening to
the church and state.
The war driven times were a signal to
the people that something must be
The people wanted to originate back
to the powers of Nature, and Nature’s
God. That’s where true spirituality exist.
As Puritan ideology began to
sweep across the land, there
began to be a new
understanding of life and
spirituality. This led to an
increased intelligence among
the people. As people began to
see the world for what it really
was, there began to be
revolutions to overthrow kings
and their unjust laws. The
Puritans were directly
responsible for the change in
many governmental structures
including Great Britain and The
Not only did Puritan ideology change our perspective
on religion and spirituality, it contributed to the
design of present day society. The Puritan message
has echoed within our current political systems and
will likely continue to do so until their ideas are
needed again. They sparked the concept that the
people are in control and the governments are only
here to support that idea within itself. Throughout the
history of the world, there has been no group that
has significantly shaped world events as much as
the Puritans and their ideas during The
Howe, Daniel – Encyclopedia of American Religious Experience – “The impact of
Puritanism on American Culture” Published by: Charles Scribner’s Sons on December
Zalta, Edward – The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy- Published by The
Metaphysics Research Lab. www.plato.stanford.edu
Cussen, Ollie – Trouble With The Enlightenment – www.prospectmagazine.co.uk on
May 5th, 2013
Archives and Rate Books Library, University of Cincinnati- The Enlightenment
McMahon, Darrin – Enlightenment World “Pursing An Enlightened Gospel” Published
by Routledge in 2004