Religion in the Thirteen Colonies

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What was the influence of the Puritans in the Thirteen Colonies?

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The Puritans were quite influential in early American history. They believed that their form of worship was the best and that they were creating a "city on a hill" for other cities to emulate. They followed Scripture rather strictly and people were encouraged to monitor each other to ensure adherence to their strict rules. The Puritans persecuted Indians in the northeastern United States in bloody wars such as King Philip's War.

The Puritans were known for their work ethic. They believed that God preordained some people to go to Heaven; these were the Elect. God also bestowed success on the Elect here on Earth by making them successful. By becoming a successful farmer and living a godly life, one could demonstrate one's membership in this selective group. Puritan society began to break down as people moved farther away from the early settlements to look for the best land. As they moved, they were not as close to the church as they once were and this led to a gradual breakdown of Puritan beliefs. By 1720, the strict adherence of Puritanism had largely faded, although things such as the hysteria of the Salem Witchcraft Trials took place as late as the 1690s.

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