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Puritan Paradise

Essay by   •  December 14, 2010  •  660 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,342 Views

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The colonization of New England in the 1600's began, partly due to religious persecution from the church in England and therefore led the way for a Puritan settlement of the New England colonies to escape from the religious turmoil. The Puritan dream of perfection or, "a city set upon a hill" began in prosperity but soon backfired. The undermining of the vision of a Puritan Utopia that the colonists strived for was significantly linked to the religious dissent and demographic change in the newly established 17th century colony.

Although the Puritans escaped the religious persecution in England, they caused dissent in New England by persecuting those within their own communities and proselytizers from outside of their boarders. Historian James Truslow Adams agreed that they denied religious tolerance and political free speech such as the cases of Ann Hutchinson and Roger Williams. Hutchinson and Williams were the first dissenters in the Puritan communities. Hutchinson, who held bible discussions at her house, was easily exiled from the settlement for her radical contradiction of predestination, while Williams, who disagreed with the unfair settlement of Indian land and believed in the separation of church and state, was banished more difficulty because of his occupation as a preacher. Williams later escaped to Rhode Island to begin the first Baptist church, unlike the unlucky proselytizers from the "Society of Friends" who came to the Puritan settlement to convert and left only in spirit.

Quaker proselytizers such as Mary Dyers visited the city set upon a hill to preach and convert what Puritans they could. They were denied and threatened with their lives to leave the settlement and never return. Mary and her crew defied the Puritan's banishment and were hung. The King, who wanted Quakers out of England, temporarily revoked the Puritans' charter because of the murders causing the Puritans to rethink their actions. Most of the banishment and murder ended in vain because the victims still had a lasting effect on the Puritan society marking the first step of the destruction of the Puritan Utopia.

The demographic changes in the Puritan society by over-expansion and excessive prosperity directly assisted in the undermining of the Puritan society. The vision of a city set upon a hill could only be fulfilled while

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