Miller characterizes the Puritans as being "purposeful", self-reliant, and community-oriented. Their practice of "self-denial" and focus on "hard work" made them perfect candidates to survive off the unforgiving land. They were "forced to fight the land like heroes for every grain of corn", and did so with unwavering zeal; soon after establishing their colony in Massachusetts they "were shipping out products of slowly increasing quantity and value". The Puritans were united. They set up "a communal society which...was...an autocracy by consent, for they were united from top to bottom by a commonly held ideology whose perpetuation was the reason and justification for all their sufferings". They worked tirelessly in support of each other in their just endeavors; "when a new farmhouse was built, friends assembled to 'raise the roof'".
On the negative side, Miller describes the Puritans as prone to a "parochial snobbery". Having been persecuted themselves in England, they ironically "found it necessary to deny any other sect its freedom". Even within their own ranks, they were so intent on protecting their "New Jerusalem" that they established patrols to take notice of those who were not "giving good account" of themselves. These they would present before the magistrates, "whereby they (might) be accordingly proceeded against".