Like other groups that sought sanctuary in North America in the seventeenth century, the Puritans desired religious freedom to practice their own faith, but they saw no hypocrisy in not extending that same freedom to people who held other beliefs. In fact, the word "Puritan" was applied to several extremist Protestant sects whose intention was to reform the Church of England because it had become too morally slack. The term was first applied to the group by its enemies as an assignation of contempt for their extremist views.
Puritans believed in studying the Bible and interpreting it as literally as possible; in deeply personal and complex conversion experiences; in the elimination of music but the importance of sermons during religious services; and a strict structuring of family life, with husbands as heads of the household.
Although the Puritans squabbled over doctrine in New England, their adherence to strict values enabled them to survive the harsh conditions in which they found themselves. Without the disciplines that their religion imposed upon them, they might have succumbed to the rigors of the New World, like so many other failed colonies. However, their adherence to their beliefs left them extremely intolerant of others. Government laws included mandatory church attendance on Sundays. To protect society from moral faults such as heresy, punishments, including banishment from the colony, corporal punishment, and the death penalty, were used.
As mentioned above, Puritans saw no hypocrisy in the forced imposition of their values upon the populace of their colonies. In fact, they believed that it was their moral and ethical obligation. The viewpoints of other colonists on the Eastern Seaboard differed, and they may have seen the Puritans as hypocritical. Sometimes, non-Puritans, feeling oppressed by the strict Puritan regulations, left New England or were expelled and sought places in colonies further to the south.