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What role did religion play in the colonization of New England? In your comments,...

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mky2c | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted February 25, 2012 at 1:11 AM via web

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What role did religion play in the colonization of New England? In your comments, please use the link below.

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5787

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 25, 2012 at 1:43 AM (Answer #1)

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This is a great question and I loved the letter that was attached. From this letter, there are several important observations that speak of religion in the colonization of New England.

First, there is a strong emphasis in the belief in God. For example, the letter starts and ends with God, which is significant as it shows the worldview of the early settlers. They started and ended their day, night, and thoughts with God.

Second, there is also a strong sense of religious duty towards their parents. At one point, the writer of the letter ask for forgiveness for not being a dutiful son. There is little context after this, but this notion shows God is in the center of family life as well.

Third, there is also a strong work ethic. In fact, hard work fills the whole letter. Part of this ethic comes from their religious beliefs. It is good to remember at this point Max Weber's thesis about the Protestant Work Ethic.

Four, there is belief in the perfect will of God, even if it is mysterious. The author speaks of several people dying, but his faith never wavers. He also wants health and more corn, but he also says that it is really up to God.

In conclusion, God is the constant reference point in this whole letter.

Sources:

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