Religion in the Thirteen Colonies

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Why do you think the Puritans succeeded in establishing permanent settlements in New England?

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There were a few reasons why the Puritans were able to successfully establish permanent settlements in North America. One reason is that they were able to focus on the growth of their settlements instead of trying to constantly defend their settlements. They established friendly relations with Squanto, who showed them how to survive in North America by hunting, fishing, and growing crops such as corn. He also helped the Puritans establish friendly relations with some Native American tribes.

The Puritans also established a form of government when the members of the group signed the Mayflower Compact. This document established a set of rules for governing themselves and also established a social structure within the settlement, which helped to create a more orderly society.

Many of the Puritan settlers came as a family unit. This allowed them to live in peace and to get along well with each other. The Puritans were successful while living in Great Britain; they had many skills and were literate. They left Great Britain to be able to practice their religious beliefs free from persecution. These characteristics helped them survive and grow once they arrived in North America.

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The Puritans were initially successful because they came over in family units.  These people were actually skilled tradesmen in England before they left for the Netherlands and finally New England—they had building skills and could farm.  Part of the Puritan faith was that God favors the successful.  By working hard and being successful, one showed God's favor in one's life.  This gave the Puritans more incentive to be frugal and industrious.  The Puritans also formed successful relationships with the natives who taught them their farming practices.  Puritan birth rates were also among the highest in the New World, and all adult males were expected to want their own farms, which led to the settlement's expansion.  

The Puritans' faith led them to see themselves as forming a godly society for the rest of the world to emulate.  Puritan leaders referred to their settlement as a "city on a hill."  The Puritans, even in the early days of high mortality, saw that they had no choice but to succeed in the New World.  By giving their settlement a higher purpose, they retained the courage to stay.  

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The Puritans' success can be attributed to two main factors.  These factors are the nature of their religious beliefs and the fact that they came to the New World largely as family groups.

The Puritans' religious beliefs caused them to believe very strongly in hard work and improving themselves and their society.  They did not believe that they could achieve salvation this way because they believed their fate was predestined.  But they did believe that their actions could give clues as to whether they would achieve salvation.  Therefore, they tended to want to work hard and get ahead in life.  They also believed that it was important to act in the correct ways as a society so that God would reward the society...

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here on Earth.  For these reasons, the Puritans were hard workers, a trait which helped them to succeed.

In addition, the Puritans generally came in family groups and even as whole communities.  This allowed them to have a very stable society from the beginning.  It helped to create a society in which people got along relatively well and had good, happy lives.  This is important in their success as well.

We should not forget that the Puritans had a great deal of initial help from the Indians as well.

Overall, though, if we are looking at factors having to do with the Puritans themselves, religious beliefs and the presence of families are two major factors in their success.

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