We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

First Founders

American Puritans and Puritanism in an Atlantic World

Francis J. Bremer

Publication Year: 2012

Francis J. Bremer has spent his entire career broadening our understanding of America's colonial founders. Now, in this eminently readable collection of biographies, Bremer brings us a surprisingly varied and dynamic group of characters who continue to guide and influence America today. With its cast of magistrates, women, clergy, merchants, and Native Americans, First Founders underscores the breadth of early American experience and the profound transatlantic roots of our country's forebears. Bremer succeeds in bringing little-known figures out of the shadows, while allowing us to appreciate better known figures in an entirely new light.

This is a truly fascinating look at the Puritans with keenly drawn portraits and the insight that only a lifetime of scholarship can achieve. It should become the standard introduction to the field. Written in the mold of Joseph Ellis's Founding Brothers and Gordon Wood's Revolutionary Characters, the book will appeal to general readers, students, and scholars alike.

Published by: University of New Hampshire Press

Series: New England in the World

Title Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (40.4 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (14.5 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (38.2 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (133.4 KB)
pp. ix-x

The more I have studied the subject of puritanism in the seventeenth-century Atlantic world, the more I have been impressed with the varieties of belief and practice that lie beneath the standard picture that scholars have painted of early New England...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (67.1 KB)
pp. 1-9

Puritanism was a dynamic force in the shaping of early New England, and its legacy has continued to have an impact on our culture. John Winthrop’s call for the colonists to be “as a City upon a Hill” has been cited as the point of origin for America’s sense...

read more

John Winthrop and the Struggle to Lead a Godly Life

pdf iconDownload PDF (342.5 KB)
pp. 11-28

John Winthrop was born in the Stour Valley of eastern England, in the village of Edwardstone, in the Armada year of 1588. Edwardstone was one of three closely related communities that included Groton and Boxford...

read more

John Endecott: Godly Magistrate

pdf iconDownload PDF (357.1 KB)
pp. 29-44

The puritan view of the godly magistrate was set forth in England in numerous sermons and speeches, nowhere better than in 1618, when the clergyman Samuel Ward addressed the Suffolk magistrates at the annual...

read more

John Wilson

pdf iconDownload PDF (98.9 KB)
pp. 45-62

Before he became a pastor, John Wilson became a puritan. But this was something that many would not have anticipated, since he grew up within the Protestant establishment of the Church of England. His father, the...

read more

Thomas Dudley and Thomas Shepard: Hammers of Heretics

pdf iconDownload PDF (725.1 KB)
pp. 63-78

When John Endecott, John Winthrop and John Wilson immigrated to New England the threat to English puritans was looming on the horizon. As the decade of the 1630s progressed, that threat became...

read more

Four Strong Women: Anne Hutchinson, Mary Dyer, Lady Deborah Moody, and Anne Eaton

pdf iconDownload PDF (787.9 KB)
pp. 79-98

Anne Hutchinson was the daughter of the Reverend Francis Marbury, a clergyman in the Church of England who had been sharply critical of the failures of the church to adequately serve its members, on one occasion stating...

read more

The Troubled Keaynes

pdf iconDownload PDF (83.6 KB)
pp. 99-112

Robert Keayne was the son of a butcher in Windsor, Berkshire, England. He was born in 1595 and when he was about ten his father apprenticed him to a member of the London Merchant Taylor’s Company, one of the city’s...

read more

Stephen Winthrop: Soldier of the Lord

pdf iconDownload PDF (312.6 KB)
pp. 113-129

Stephen was the first child of John and Margaret Winthrop, born in Groton, England, on March 24, 1619, eleven months after their marriage. The delivery was difficult. Margaret was in labor for over forty hours...

read more

Hugh Peter: Regicide

pdf iconDownload PDF (459.2 KB)
pp. 131-146

Hugh Peter was born in Cornwall, in the far southwest of England, in 1598. His father’s family had emigrated from Antwerp much earlier in the century. Hugh matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge...

read more

John Davenport and the Middle Advent

pdf iconDownload PDF (776.4 KB)
pp. 147-168

John Davenport was born in the city of Coventry in the midlands of England in 1597. His father and uncle were both prominent citizens and each would serve as mayor of the city. His uncle Christopher, who played...

read more

Samuel Winthrop: From Puritan to Quaker

pdf iconDownload PDF (597.1 KB)
pp. 169-193

Samuel was born to John and Margaret Winthrop in Groton, England, and baptized in the parish church there on August 27, 1627. Because of his youth he remained with Margaret when John left for New England in 1630...

read more

John Sassamon: A Puritan between Two Cultures

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 195-212

John Sassamon was born a Wampanoag near modern Canton, Massachusetts, around 1620. His parents moved soon thereafter and seem to have been living near the Massachusetts town of Dorchester when they succumbed...

read more

John Leverett: Defending the Ways of the Fathers

pdf iconDownload PDF (525.2 KB)
pp. 213-232

John Leverett was part of the New England establishment. He was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, in 1616 and baptized there in St. Botolph’s Church. His father, Thomas Leverett, was a Boston alderman and a prominent...

read more

Anne Bradstreet: Puritan Wife and Mother

pdf iconDownload PDF (647.1 KB)
pp. 233-248

Anne was the daughter of Governor Thomas Dudley and the wife of Simon Bradstreet, who succeeded John Leverett as governor of Massachusetts. She was born in England in 1612. Her mother, born Dorothy...

read more

Samuel Sewall: The Conscience of a Puritan

pdf iconDownload PDF (328.9 KB)
pp. 249-268

Samuel Sewall was born in England in 1652. His father, Henry, had actually immigrated to Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1634, and there married Jane Dummer. But the couple had returned to England in 1647 because the harsh...

read more

Conclusion: Civil Society and the Godly Kingdom

pdf iconDownload PDF (45.3 KB)
pp. 269-271

What unites virtually all of the stories of the men and women (I’m not sure about Sarah Keayne here) is their commitment to fashion themselves into godly individuals and to reform those around them...

Sources and Further Readings

pdf iconDownload PDF (57.5 KB)
pp. 273-277


pdf iconDownload PDF (50.7 KB)
pp. 279-282

E-ISBN-13: 9781611682588
E-ISBN-10: 1611682584
Print-ISBN-13: 9781584659594

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: New England in the World

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • New England -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775.
  • Puritans -- New England.
  • Puritans -- New England -- Clergy -- History -- 17th century.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access