To understand why the Puritans fled from England, you must first know some of their background. Puritans challenged the existing Christian order when Catholicism was the dominant religion in England. In the early 16th century, Martin Luther (1483-1546) began to challenge the existing hierarchy. He believed that Roman Catholicism relied too much on the clergy. He believed that it was corrupt because people would pay the clergy for salvation. If someone had recently died, people would pay the clergy to further the dead ones chance at obtaining salvation, this was called indulgence. Luther believed that one obtained salvation by faith alone. He shifted the emphasis on the clergy to the individual. Under him, individuality is promoted.

John Calvin (1509-1564) agreed with Luther but had a different viewpoint on certain subjects. Calvin preached pre-destination, which meant that even before you were born, you were destined for Heaven or Hell. The individual would never know whether or not they were going to either one. He preached on original sin, meaning that all are sinners at birth because of Adam & Eve. "In Adam's fall, we sinned all." This saying was used to show original sin and also used to teach Puritan children the letter 'a'. One perhaps gained salvation through a conversion experience, to be "born again." The conversion experience was obtainable after years of study and a public confession of sins.

Puritans were a dissenting sect in the Church of England. They felt that they were there to "purify" the Church. In England, Puritans were persecuted under James I and Charles I.

In the late 16th century, under James I, England decides that settlement of the New World was a good idea. Why did England arrive late? That is explained in that node. They were late nevertheless and England did not have the resources to send ships to the New World "discovered" by Christopher Columbus. So under advisement, James I had some important joint stock companies created. People would invest in these companies who would then send out settlements, and if the settlements prospered, then the people with stock in the company would receive benefits. There were many compaines but only two joint stock companies will be mentioned.

Virginia Company of London
Virginia Company of Plymouth