American Presidents Essay

3392 words - 14 pages

There have been many noticeable religious influences on the US in its growth during the past 250 years. None has been more prevalent than the presence of religion in the US government. The Presidents of the US have always used and respected religion to gain voter approval, connect with voters and for varying other reasons. Whether this use be in their written documents, speeches or private work, it has had an effect on American society. The foundations of American religious government can be seen in many early movements; the one of these most relevant to modern American society is the Puritan movement. The Puritans were mostly influenced by John Calvin and traditional Christian teachings. In the early 1600's the Puritans were Separatists who had mostly moved from England to Holland because of Holland's lack of restrictions on the religions of it's citizens. (pg.50, "The Religious History Of America", Gaustad & Schmidt) After waiting for England to change its policies to no avail, the Puritans sought out a land that "they knew not but by hearsay, where they must learn a new language, and get their livings they knew not how, it being a dear place and subject to the miseries of war, it was by many thought to an adventure almost desperate...". (Chapter II, "Of Plymouth Plantation", William Bradford) In 1620 they journeyed across the Atlantic, looking for Virginia but landing at Cape Cod, where they settled. Their way of life was similar to modern day America, as they valued hard work, sanctity and community.The governor of the settlement at Cape Cod was William Bradford, one of the first American religious leaders. He wrote much about the voyage to Plymouth, the arrival and life at the settlement. (pg. 51, The Religious History of America") He was a very religious man himself, hoping future generations might say "Our fathers were Englishmen, which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness, but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity." (Of Plymouth Plantation) Bradford believed God was in action everywhere, thus controlling what went on. He believed the immoral were punished by God and the good were spared."There was a proud and very profane young man, one of the seamen, of a lusty, able body, which made him the more haughty; he would always be contemning the poor people in their sickness and cursing them daily with grievous execrations; and did not let to tell them that he hoped to help to cast half of them overboard before they came to their journey's end, and to make merry with what they had; and if he were by any gently reproved, he would curse and swear most bitterly. But it pleased God before they came half seas over, to smite this young man with a grievous disease, of which he died in a desperate manner, and so was himself the first that was thrown overboard." (Chapter IX, "Of...

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