Write an essay in which you evaluate the influence of Puritan values on the development of American culture. Use specific examples of Puritan ideas, traditions, and institutions, and discuss how these were affected by the end of the first century of American colonial development. (Be sure to rely heavily on Morgan’s The Puritan Family, as well as lecture, text and primary sources, for material and examples. ) Cultures often rely on past beliefs to shape their values or way of life. Puritans had a great impact on American society today.
Their primary focus was on that of religion and how it guided their lives in aspects such as relationships, social order, and education. They did not accept many who fell outside of these standards and I think that today, many are marginalized if they do not conform to the common beliefs. Many people today use the Ten Commandments as an outline of how to live and what to believe which shows that religion is still an important aspect of lives in America. Although their ideas have been manipulated over the years, they provided a strong basis for American Culture.
The husband and wife relationship is an area that has evolved its basic ideas from the Puritan lifestyle. A pastor or magistrate was not allowed to perform a marriage unless it was already “published” by the law which is similar to a marriage certificate today. It is a legal union as well as a religious one. After the ceremony was a feast to celebrate which is still common nowadays. A difference is in that they forbid dancing and other extensive “fun” activities. This is where some of our laws originated from, such as anti-smoking or censorship laws.
Domestic abuse was forbidden in Puritan marriages and this was also taken as far as punishment for speaking ill words of one another. Their idea of marriage was that a relationship was based on companionship and this remains a main reason couples get married. They also believed in a subordination of the women which has been challenges but there are some areas where it is still seen in society. The Puritan’s education was closely related to religion which is not the case in American culture however there are similarities in the importance of education.
They believed that the education of children would lead to salvation therefore it was of high importance for young children to be educated. Both Puritans and today’s society believe that the importance of education is so that advancement is possible to bring wealth. Their entire system of order and belief relied on this, “Every Grace enters into the soul through Understanding” (Morgan, 1944). Therefore education and religion went hand in hand. This is not as common today with the separation of church and state. There are some separate school systems that are closely associated with religion however it is not the norm.
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