Puritans Essay

1110 words - 4 pages

Puritans' BckgroundWhen Elizabeth I became queen; she re-established Protestantism as England's official religion. Many reformed Protestants thought that the Anglican Church was still too much like the Catholic Church. They wanted to "purify" the Church of England and to make it less like the Roman Church. Even more, "they sought not only to 'purify' England's religion, but to revive it." Then the early usage of the term Puritan gradually came to be applied to a certain tenor among these early reformers. The Puritans wanted simple churches and simple clothes for their priests. They disliked the power that the bishops had in the church and they did not want the queen as the head of the church.[1: Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People, p. 91.]The period of Reformation in England "stretching from the accession of Elizabeth to the Restoration of Charles II may be justly designated the 'Puritan Century'." The English puritan was not a member of an organized religious sect. In the main they were the loyal communicants of the Elizabethan Church expressing their opinions and voicing their concerns regarding certain desired reforms in the existing rites of the Book of Common Prayer, and the existing Church administration. [2: Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People, p.90.]Elizabeth believed Puritans were her greatest religious problem after the Roman Catholics. "The royal supremacy in religion was, however, the most majestic and, to the age, the most important feature of the prerogative. Thus, if the commons in parliament began to agitate for changes in religion, they could not avoid attacking the position of the sovereign." These men continued, throughout her reign, to refuse to wear vestments, to refuse to swear certain oaths, to stop teaching and preaching against certain "popish" aspects of her settled Church of England. Elizabeth thought that their ideas were dangerous; she saw them as a threat to monarchial government. Many Puritans were put in prison or killed. [3: E. L. Woodward, A History of England, pp. 94-95.]When Elizabeth died most of her people were strongly Protestant. In 1603, the Protestant king of Scots James VI became King James I of England. He was a Protestant and introduced many reforms for Puritans in Scotland, "The Puritans believed that perhaps now there would be change in England, and people would be granted their liberty of their consciences." But then he just followed Elizabeth's religious policies. He loathed and persecuted both the Puritans and their near-relations, the Separatists, who decided to separate from the Church of England because Anglicanism could not be purified. These Separatists included the Pilgrims, who left the country and after a sojourn in Holland they established the Plymouth Colony in New England in 1620. They established Puritanism as the religion of New England, kept as good relations with the mother country as possible under such terms. Puritan New...

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