What is Puritanism? (A brief summary of this report)
The puritan movement began around 1559, during the reign of Elizabeth I, when a large group of dissentant protestants sought to abolish all Catholic influence from the Church. When King James I came to power, the Puritans asked him to reform the church to their ways. They were rejected and persecuted for this, and in 1620, many of them emigrated to New England. The increasing repression of the Puritans caused a civil war, and the Puritans remained the dominant force in England until 1660. The protestant dissentants began to quarrel and divide. The monarchy returned to power, and the Anglican church was restored. Among the emigrating American Puritans were the pilgrims, who founded the Plymouth Colony. The Puritans held a tight grip on the church in New England, and their viewpoints on Christianity dominated for over 200 years.
The dissentant Puritans were unhappy with the state of the Church in England. America had only recently been discovered, and many Puritans emigrated to New England to preach and live their way. The Piligrims that founded the Plymouth Colony were among these Puritans. Many of these Protestants stayed behind in England to fight and push their interpretation of Christianity.
England was doing well economically well. Many of the citizens were middle to high class, and held positions in the House of Commons. The richer the people became, the more power they wanted in the Parliament. King Charles II had ignored the Parliament to deal with the problem in 1629. The Commons were angry at tax raises by the King’s predecessor Charles I without consulting them. Angers between the King and Parliament rose, and the country was plunged into civil war.
During these war times, the Puritans held dominance over Christiainity in England until 1660, where many of the Puritan groups quarreled and fought. Puritanism collapsed in England, and Anglicanism and the monarchy were restored. Puritanism was thriving in America still.
Major Political Trends
England was ruled under a monarchy. When citizens were unhappy with the current King, all they could do was wait for the next one, and tackle their problems once more. The Church of England was in turmoil from the dissentant Puritans. The Puritans sought to rid the Church of all Catholic roots, and were not given the chance until Elizabeth I was succeeded by King James I. King James rejected the Puritans, and mass emigration of the Puritans to America occurred.
The Parliament of England was comprised of the wealthier citizens. They were consulted when the King made decisions such as declaring war or raising taxes. The English Civil War started because King Charles ignored his Parliament, and they became very discontented with him.
Social and Cultural Trends
Religion was a major aspect of everyday life in England. The Puritans believed in the absolute power of God, the corruption and evil in man, the Bible as law and a guide to life, and the importance of strict religious practice for divine salvation. They sought to rid the church of all Catholic influence, as they believed many of its ways were contradictory to the Bible. The key difference between the Puritans and the Anglicans is that the Puritans believed they should do as the Bible commanded, and the Anglicans should rather not do what the Bible forbid.