Why did the Salem settlement need a theocracy?

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price7781 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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A theocracy is a government that is run by its religious leaders.  The religious leaders establish the rules and conduct of the community based on God and the rules of their religion.  First of all, the Puritans came to America to escape religious persecution in Europe.  It was important to them to establish their own community based on their own religious beliefs and the teachings of God.  However, settling a wild, primitive new world was not easy.  The Puritans had to build homes, plant crops, and survive the wilderness that surrounded them.  The way to unite them to achieve all of these goals was to make sure everyone believed the same thing.  As an integral part of the community, the Church controlled the destiny of Salem by imposing religious laws upon them.  The Church determined the education young Puritans would learn and settled any conflicts or law suits in the community.  Their reach was immense and an important unifying force that kept the tenets of the Church alive and flourishing in the new America for awhile.