Did the Puritans Really Come to America for Religious Freedom

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Did the Puritans Really Come to America for Religious Freedom? Did the Puritans Really Come to America for Religious Freedom? Did the Puritans come to America purely for religious freedom? Many believe that religious freedom was the sole reason for their immigration to America. I believe that religious persecution was the principle reason for their voyage but also feel that their discontent with the English government played a key role in their leaving as well. In sixteenth century England there were people who wanted to see reform in English religion, society, and politics. They strove to do this by restricting church membership to the pious and godly and also by wanting the state to enforce non-bending moral codes. 1 These people were called Puritans. Those who made up the Puritan group were either Presbyterians or Congregationalists. Both groups were Calvinists but differed in opinion on how to organize the church. Presbyterians wanted to be governed by higher bodies of ministers and laypersons. Congregationalists preferred to allow individual churches to make their own decisions. As Calvinists the Puritans believed in divine sovereignty. They felt that God’s plan was to reform church and society to conform to John Calvin’s theological ideas. In their eyes the English government went directly against the divine plan of purity and social order by allowing and participating in such things as drunkenness, gambling, public swearing and Sabbath breaking. The Government also allowed celebrations based on pagan customs such as maypole dancing and celebrating Christmas and saints’ days. 2 1 Davidson, James West et al, U.S. A Narrative History, Volume One, (New York: McGraw Hill, 2012), p.65. 2 Ibid, p.66 Even more disturbing to the Puritans was the Church of England’s inability to throw aside the teachings of the Roman Catholic
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