Good Puritans Beliefs And The Native Americans Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Puritans, Religion, Church, America, England, War, Conversion, Christians

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/01/10


Around the eve of 16th and early 17th centuries, many puritans established their settlement in the northern part of America especially in England. These people mainly consisted of individuals from England church who argued that the church had not undergone adequate transformation. They were therefore greatly opposed to policies that were upheld during the era of Elizabeth 1, James 1 and even Charles 1; all from England. The puritans lived in harmony with their Native American counterparts for quite a long period of time. However, as the population grew bigger with time the coexisting peace between the puritans and Native Americans began to deteriorate. This ended up in eruption of war between the two groups that led to death of many people. The outbreak of the war is attributed to religious and economic reasons in addition to land conflict.
Puritans inhabited America around 1620. Their main aim was to carry out reformation in church. This was in contrast with the pilgrims who had established their settlement earlier in Jamestown, America. Puritans believed that they were strong in religious faith and could make America a place for liberation. Majority of the puritans claimed that they were not against the Church of England but instead were seeking to reform it to be a better place for worship. This majority group which was commonly referred to as ‘non-separating group’ did not advocate for separation of congregations that were different from the Church of England. However, there was a minor group of puritans who were referred to as ‘separating puritans’. This group was against their counterparts and therefore advocated the establishment of congregations out of the church.
The Native Americans were not contented with the way the puritan viewed themselves in terms of their roles. Puritans viewed themselves as the only true Christians who were supposed to preach the word of God. To achieve this, the puritans came up with strategies that would enable them win the souls of Native Americans. For instance, they came up with what they referred t as “praying towns”. This entailed the exposure of Indian community to Christianity and English culture. They facilitated translation of the bible to native languages so that Indians could understand the word of God. This became an eye opener to Indians. They saw that the motive of puritans was to displace the Native Americans in addition to impacting their religious faith and English culture to them. They saw this as a threat and they made up their decision for war.
The outbreak of the war changed the nature of thinking and the way of life of puritans. This was reflected by the slowed conversion of Native Americans to Christians and the decline of the ‘praying towns’. This is because the puritans were living in fear of other attacks by the Indians. This fear by puritans contributed to the slowed down conversion of Native Americans and changed the way the puritans addressed the issues of colonialism. They saw the Native Americans from a negative perspective. For instance, King Philip war revealed to colonialists the brutality of these natives. This is what led to the end to the conversion of Indians to Christianity. The puritan ministers took this opportunity to preach unification and bring wayward puritans to church. From the above information it can be attributed that conversion of natives to Christians ended due to the war.
Some social behaviors of puritans were also against the way the natives viewed life. For instance, the puritans liked beer and upholding good fellowship. The used to use the expression “wine comes from God; drunkenness from the devil”. These behaviors were not tolerable to some extent. In addition, puritans did not believe in freedom of doing good. They made people to be tried in courts for playing cards and idleness. Ironically, adultery was not considered an abomination to natives. This was unethical considering the culture of the puritans. According to puritans, it was wrong to have sex out of marriage and such behaviors could not be to be tolerated. Puritans could allow ministers in their churches to get married. In fact, they were against the celibacy life that is commonly found in catholic churches.
Despite the fact that the puritans’ main goal was to reform the Church of England, they did not focus on establishing a church that could incorporate the state laws. The main purpose of setting up a government was to deal with those who went against the laws. The puritans wanted to operate in an environment that allowed the church to run independently without the influence of the government. They denied their church ministers from taking positions in public offices and were also against the idea of setting up church court systems. Considering the life style of the natives, this idea of puritans was difficult to adopt and thus major differences arose. Contrally to their counterparts in England, puritans in Massachusetts could hold elections annually and provided a platform that all freemen could hold any office. Since voting in England was largely restricted by church, more population could vote in Massachusetts than in England.


Fisher, Linford, "Native Americans, Conversion, And Christian Practice In Colonial New England, 1640-1730." Harvard Theological Review 102.1 (2009): 101-124. Print.

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