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Society And Religion In The New England Colonies

Referencing Styles : Harvard | Pages : 1
  • University: Birmingham University
  • Country: GB

New England in the seventeenth century developed in different ways New England societies were settled by the puritans who believed god ordained the family and viewed family as essential to colony. They established English traditions and customs mainly because of family structure. The puritans were increased in huge numbers in the New England colonies caused by long life expectancy good health and multigenerational families strengthen the social life of the new England colonies. Most of the new Englanders used to marry neighbors with similar values. The people of the New England areas produced their own needs and surpluses. Most of the farmers of the colonies were the members of the church as they are very religious in nature.

There were many differences between the New England, middle and southern regions. The economic activities and trade were dependent on the climatic condition in which the colonists live. The geographic situation and the climate affected the society of the New England colonies. in the new England towns were established along the coast , the social life of the colonists depend on the fishing whaling and shipbuilding. The people of the colonies generally catch fishes like cod , mackerel ,herring and other type of sea fishes to spend their livelihood. Whale oil was the most valuable resource as it could be used in lighting lamps.  Due to the poor climatic conditions, farming was very difficult. The people of the New England colonies depend on the farming of corn pumpkins and rye as it was not possible to grow wheat in the unfertile soil of the area.

The Massachusetts Bay colony was founded by the puritans a religious group that was looking to purify the Church of England. To the New England colonial people reading bible was the most important thing and for that reason, they focus on the development of the education in the colonial area.

Religion in the colonies was extremely diverse and many of the religious groups like the puritans and the Quakers established the first of the 13 colonies based on their religious beliefs. The colonial people have travelled a long and hazardous journey only to get religious freedom from the European countries to the North America.

The puritans who started the voyage to the New England on the may flower were led by one of their leader William Bradford. These puritans were known as the religious people who believed in a pure Christian church with no intervention of the catholic religion. They formed the Plymouth settlement in the New England area, which was later, came to be known as the pilgrims’ father or simply as pilgrims.

It must be said that the religious groups like the puritans looking to get freedom from the religious persecution in the home country arrived in the colonies and efficiently formed their own form of religious persecution. There was no religious freedom in the areas that were inhabited by the puritans as they did not tolerate nay other type of religion in there area. Their concept of religious freedom was restricted only to the puritan religion. John Winthrop a powerful leader of the puritans was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony. His group of puritan religion believed that they will establish a pure church in the new England that would become a model for all the churches. The congregational church eventually grew out of the puritan church and was formally established in the colonies of the New England, except in the Rhode Island who favored religious tolerance.

Any person who does not agree with the rules of the puritans was called as the nonconformists or dissenters and they were severally punished for their acts. The punishments imposed on the nonconformists and dissenters included being fined whipped and imprisoned. In some cases those who were refused to follow the religion of the puritans were banished from the colony and were sent to other places or being boycotted from the society. The rules were very strict and were applicable to all classes of the society. Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson were famous as early colonists who were banished for their religious beliefs and fled to the Rhode island.

The puritans also belief on the witchcrafts and they have very brutal rules against the witches. The Salem witchcraft trials occurred in the year 1692 and were lasted for three months in which accusations of witchcraft were made against both men and women. The Salem witchcraft trials resulted in 100 to 200 arrests 19 people were sentenced to death by hanging one old man was killed by throwing stones.

Eventually this type of religious persecution ended and other religions began to appear in the puritan based colonies. Other colonies were established were religious tolerance was exercised. the  colonists from different countries of Europe adhere to different religions like the roman catholic , Jewish , Lutheran , protestant , Anglican , Quakers , and Presbyterians . Religious diversity had become a dominant part of religion in the New England colonies and colonial life.

The religion in the colonies encompassed the religious practices of many denominations. The differences between the range of different types of religions in the colonies leads to the considerable confusion and conflicts among the people of the colony. Each type of the religions tries to prove that there religion was the superior than the others and all the other people should follow their religion. This conflict often rose to the situation of war among the different followers of the colony. The religion in the colonies includes protestant puritan, catholic, Anglican, Episcopalian, Congregationalists, Baptists, evangelists and Unitarian. These were all Christian religions based on the Old Testament and the teachings of the Jesus as embodied in the New Testament and emphasizing the role of Jesus as a savior. The religious faith of the colonial people of New England was very strong and that become a important factor in the development of the social life of the colonial peoples.


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