"Completing The Thirteen Colonies" Essay

1722 words - 7 pages

Calvinism Conceives PuritanismThe awesome doctrine of predestination was a distinguishing feature of Calvinism. Calvinists were a peculiar lot, partly because no believers could be completely sure that they were of the "elect."The Puritans of Old England, even before 1620, were unhappy over the snail-like progress of the Protestant Reformation.The Puritan Reformers fell into two general groups:Non Conformists - sought to change the Church of England by boring from within. Though were devoted and sincere, they constituted a difficult and militant minority.Separatists - They wished to separate entirely from the Church of England and its "Romish" practices, in order that they might worship God and combat the Devil in their own way.King James I, a shred Scotsman, was head of both the state and the church in England. He saw his subjects could defy him as their spiritual leader. He therefore threatened to harass the more bothersome Separatists out of the land.The Pilgrims End Their Pilgrimage at PlymouthA group of separatists in Holland, after negotiating with the Virginia Company, at length secured rights to settle under its jurisdiction. But their crowded Mayflower, sixty-five days at sea, missed its destination and arrived off the rocky coast of New England in 1620, with a total of 102 persons. One had died en route - an unusually short casualty list - and one had been born.The Pilgrims did not make their initial landing at Plymouth Rock, as commonly supposed, but undertook a number of preliminary surveys. They finally chose for their site the shore of inhospitable Plymouth Bay. They were without legal right to the land and without specific authority to establish a government.The winter of 1620-1621 was a bone-chilling one, with cold and disease taking a grisly toll. Only 44 of 102 survived. At one time only seven were well enough to lay the dead in their graves. The next autumn of 1621, brought bountiful harvests, and with them, the first Thanksgiving Day in New England.Quiet and quaint, the little colony of Plymouth was never important economically or numerically.The Bay Colony Bible CommonwealthThe Massachusetts Bay enterprise was blessed. The massive expedition of 1630, with eleven vessels and hundreds of colonists, started the establishment off on a larger scale than any of the other English colonies.Additional and enriching waves of Puritans were tossed upon the shores of Massachusetts in the 1630s. Altogether, about 75,000 refuges (Puritans) left the Motherland. But only 1/3 came to the English mainland of North America. Many were instead attracted by the warm and fertile West Indies.Religious Intolerance in MassachusettsThe age was not tolerant, whether in Europe or America, and early religious leaders of Massachusetts Bay were not tolerant. Newcomers either conformed to the established Puritan Church, kept quiet, or departed - sometimes in haste.The age was not democratic - and early Massachusetts leaders, often branded "blue-nosed bigots"...

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