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Puritan Experiment

New England Society from Bradford to Edwards

Francis J. Bremer

Publication Year: 2013

Published by: University Press of New England


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pp. 1-3

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 4-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

The Puritan Experiment was first published in 1976. It originated from a series of notes I had developed for my doctoral study group at Columbia University. I had undertaken that task because there was no single volume that introduced nonspecialists to the breadth of colonial New England studies—the theology and the demography, ...


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pp. xi-xxvi

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1 | The Origins and Growth of the Puritan Movement

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pp. 1-14

On 6 February 1556, in the reign of Queen Mary, Bishop John Hooper was brought to Glouchester, the seat of his diocese, where he was burned at the stake. A confirmed religious reformer who had traveled to the centers of continental Protestantism during the reign of Henry VIII, Hooper had returned to England upon the accession of Edward VI ...

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2 | Puritanism: Its Essence and Attraction

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pp. 15-28

During the three-quarters of a century from the reign of Edward VI to the early 1620s, the critical voice of Puritanism had steadily developed, largely in an escalating response to the intractability of the establishment and to alterations in the official stance of the church. ...

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3 | Sources of the Great Migration

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pp. 29-54

The tensions between Puritans and anti-Calvinists that had developed late in the reign of James I became more pronounced during the rule of Charles I (1625-1649). Unlike his father, the new king had never evinced any enthusiasm for Calvinism. ...

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4 | Massachusetts: The Erection of a City on a Hill

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pp. 55-72

The men and women who came to Massachusetts during the 1630s hoped to do more than merely escape from persecution: they wished to strike a blow for the true faith by erecting a model Christian community. In the years to come they were to face and overcome foreign threats and domestic civil and religious dissent. ...

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5 | Variations on a Theme: Connecticut, New Haven, Rhode Island, and the Eastern Frontier

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pp. 73-85

During the formative decade of Massachusetts history, while Winthrop, Cotton, and others were putting their ideals of religious and political perfection into practice, three other colonies were established in New England and the settlement of the northern frontier was advanced. ...

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6 | Orthodoxy in New England: The Colony Level

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pp. 86-100

Within a decade and a half, the citizens of the Bible Commonwealths had structured a society unique in the English-speaking world. They had hoped to create a model society, and their political and ecclesiastical institutions would in fact be studied in the 1640s and 1650s by English Puritans engaged in restructuring their own society. ...

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7 | Orthodoxy in New England: The Community

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pp. 101-120

The key to the success of the Bible Commonwealths in promoting Puritan values in the seventeenth century, and the reason why those values remained influential after the end of the Puritan century, lies in the local institutions that surrounded the colonists from birth to death. ...

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8 | New England and Puritan England

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pp. 121-130

The first American Revolution against the British crown did not begin in the 1700s, but in New England in the 1640s. Colonial Puritans watched with anticipation the unfolding of the English Civil Wars and cast their support with the rebel Parliament and the emergent regime of Oliver Cromwell. ...

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9 | The New England Way in an Age of Religious Ferment

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pp. 131-140

The English struggle and the Puritan triumph in England stimulated the confidence and aggressiveness of the New Englanders. They lent their energies to support of God's cause and developed a closer relationship with the English government than would have been conceivable in the 1630s. ...

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10 | Changes in Restoration New England

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pp. 141-153

Between 1660 and 1665, the course of New England history took an abrupt turn as a new regime came to power in England. Each of the Bible Commonwealths wrestled in turn with the problem of adjusting to that reality. Massachusetts proved divided in its response, revealing divisions that laid the basis for the later loss of the colony's charter. ...

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11 | Challenges to the Faith: Pluralism and Declension

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pp. 154-167

Stripped of confidence by the collapse of the English Puritan state, New Englanders became more divided in their attitudes toward religious dissent and, principally in Massachusetts, more repressive in their treatment of sectaries. What justification there is for regarding the seventeenth-century colonists as cruel bigots ...

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12 | An Oppressed People: New England's Encounters with Metacom, Governor Andros, and the Witches

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pp. 168-185

While struggling with the religious crises of the post-Restoration period, the New Englanders also experienced three major civic conflicts that tested their endurance, altered their government, and at the same time reinforced the anxieties of those who believed the society to be in decline: ...

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13 | Art and Science in Colonial New England

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pp. 186-198

The intellectual heritage that led the Puritans to establish an educational system also encouraged New England scholars in the task of investigating man and nature and communicating their findings in writing as well as in oral sermons. While Puritan colonists thus pursued tasks to which many of their English brethren likewise set themselves, ...

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14 | Race Relations

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pp. 199-208

The Puritans were not alone in their American wilderness. Before they came the land had been farmed, the wildlife hunted, the streams fished by the Indians of the region. And later, in the 1640s, white New Englanders added to the diversity of the region when they followed the lead of their Dutch neighbors ...

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15 | New Directions: Puritanism in the Neglected Decades

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pp. 209-224

The fifty years following the cessation of the Salem witch trials are the most neglected period in the history of colonial New England. Isolated between the drama of the seventeenth century and the oncoming American Revolution, the early eighteenth century has too often been viewed as merely the anticlimax of the former or the prelude to the latter. ...

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16 | Enlightenment and Evangelicalism

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pp. 225-233

Even while the Mathers and their Connecticut counterparts were seeking ways of rekindling the faith of their fathers, Puritanism in New England was being undermined by new currents of thought coming from Europe. The English Enlightenment, often dated from the publication of Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica in 1686 ...

Suggestions for Further Reading

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pp. 234-248


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pp. 249-255

E-ISBN-13: 9781611680867
E-ISBN-10: 1611680867
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874517286

Page Count: 283
Publication Year: 2013