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United States, 2006: a nation with a history of a mere 230 years, yet it stands as one of the most powerful nations in the world. Yet many of us know little about the history and cultural changes that led to the birth of this nation. We only know the bits and pieces that are taught as we sit daydreaming in our fifth grade classroom. The Puritans, the Pilgrims, Christopher Columbus, the Mayflower, we know about these people and things, yet what aspects of their lives created the change in America? The answer to this question can be found by observing the changes in religion, women's role, and colonial law as it brought about the change in the Puritan's cultural values.

In 1630, the first group of Puritans under the name of the Massachusetts Bay Company landed in what is now Boston, Massachusetts. However, months before the Arbella landed, a man by the name of John Winthrop made a sermon which came to be known as "A Modell of Christian Charity." The sermon made on the Arbella, "set down characteristic features of 'the Puritan mind' and 'the New England way.' The concluding sentiments concerning the covenant made between God and his people are particularly noteworthy" as stated in A Documentary History of Religion in America to 1877. This sermon spoke of the covenant between the God and the Puritans to create a holy community in the New World. Furthermore, it speaks of the consequences in the concluding part of the sermon as follows, "But if our heartes shall turne away soe that wee will not obey, but shall be seduced and worshipp other Gods our pleasures, and proffitts, and serue them, it is propounded vnto vs this day, wee shall surely perishe out of the good Land whether wee passe over this vast Sea to possesse it" .

Thus, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was created upon this notion of a covenant with God. The Puritans, brought together by their faith in God, came to the New World to escape the persecution and live on as the citizen of God. Puritanism for the Massachusetts Bay Colony consisted of seeing the Bible as a guide, justifying their actions through faith, and finally believing in predestination.

However, this model that stood as the foundation for the Massachusetts Bay Colony shattered decades later after the movement which came to be known as the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening as defined by Edwin Gaustad and Mark Noll in A Documentary History of Religion in America, "In that wave of religious excitement known as the Great Awakening, many found the depths of religious feeling more meaningful than the superficiality of denomination or language or even race." This movement revived religious enthusiasm in the mass, increasing religion's role in daily lives. After generation of declination in the belief of a biblical commonwealth that the colonies' founding father had set forth, the Great Awakening revived these feelings. However, the movement did not have revert the new generation of Puritans to thinking of what their forefathers believed in. The movement encouraged people to learn the bible and interpret it on their own without the aids of the minister. Furthermore, it also brought about an increase in religious belief, played a role in decreasing prejudice and identification differences as it allowed blacks to also become Christians. All these changes in religion also brought about the change in the Puritans values in all aspects of their lives.

The Great Awakening contributed to many of the changes in religion, however, this was not the only thing that the movement influenced. As mentioned above, the founding father of the Massachusetts Bay Colony had directed the colony under the covenant of God to create a holy community. Thus, much of the society revolved around the Bible and used this as their guide. Therefore, the colonial law at the beginning of the colony stemmed from the Bible and the ministers interpreted and preached these laws as sermons to the people Futhermore, John Winthrop along with others who held power, extended the covenant between God and the people to the people and the officials as well. John and others stated, "It is yourselves who have called us to this office, and being called by you, we have our authority from God" which clearly defines who held the power and authority. Just as the King of England had held power through the will of God, so did the government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The very laws of the government were justified by the Bible. As such, the Puritans saw themselves as taking out God's will in creating the model community in which all is pure and anything which defies and disturbs this model was a threat to the God and his people. A great example of this was the infamous Salem Witch Trial of 1692.

One of the most well known events is the Salem Witch Trials took place in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. Over 24 innocent victims died due to accusations of witchcraft. Neighbors watched neighbors, friends watched friends for any hint of devil worship and possessions. Sometimes, these accusations stemmed from hatred, dislike, or feuds which in turn led to biases. From observing various victims, we see that most were outcasts, singular and different from the perspective of the society as a whole.

The Great Awakening marked the marked the split between the separation of church and state which in turn defined the line between the preaching of the bible and laws that kept orders. People were not tried because they did not believe in the same religion or were different. People of different races were not discriminated against when it came to religion as blacks were allowed to become Christians. Although, the changes in colonial law were little, the movement allowed for the defining of sermons as opposed to laws. This separating allowed the Puritans change their perspective and to move away from the previous mindset, which caused both unnecessary deaths as well as corruption of power of the Church.

Thus far, both religion and colonial laws have played key roles in allowing the Puritans to step away from their old values. However, the role of women in the Puritanical society also served to change the values as women's role changed over time. Puritan women did not have much right in the colony. Their role in the colony can be summed up in the following quote: "The ideal of female subjection was partially realized in the concept of coverture, through which the legal personhood of a womn was completely subsumed under her husband's identity, her property under his ownership. A wife's dependence became not ony a matter of cultural, social, and legal restrictions, but necessarily of concrete economics" . Thus women were only above



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