Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Richard Troutman

Degree Program

Department of Philosophy & Religion

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The New England Puritans who settled in Massachusetts in 1629 were the product of the Reformation as experienced in England. They struggled with Catholicism and Anglicanism for many years before deciding to move to New England. Moving as non-separating Congregationalists (not separating from the Anglican Church, yet rejecting episcopacy), they left the tensions of being Puritans, or radical Protestants, behind them only to find more tensions in their new holy state. When they settled New England they hoped to build a state that answered to God's call for the development of a new Israel. The saints were to interpret that call and all others were to follow in agreement. Tension within the new state, however, did not allow this to happen.

Some settled in New England because they were separatists. These people, most prominently Roger Williams, caused a great deal of tension. Some settled there to share new religious views. The orthodoxy did not welcome these people, whether they were Antinomian Puritans, Quakers or Baptists.

Those concerned with more worldly matters, such as trade, were continuously causing tension within New England because some became more concerned with their own well-being as against that of the commonwealth. And others caused tension because of their interest in modern thought and literature.

All of these tensions eventually became too much for the orthodoxy to combat successfully. The opposition from without grew into opposition from within as many New Englanders began to question the old ways and the manner in which those ways were enforced.


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