Why Did the Puritans Really Leave England for the New World?

Updated on October 18, 2017
CMHypno profile image

Cynthia is an administrator, has a degree in Business, Economics, & History and is a qualified Hypnotherapist. She loves to write & travel.

English Puritans taking the Covenant
English Puritans taking the Covenant

The Puritans First Arrive in America

Thanksgiving is one of the big holidays celebrated in the United States, a time where families across the country traditionally come together to have a huge turkey dinner and give thanks for all of the blessings and abundance that they have received during the year.

While it is a kind of harvest festival, this national holiday also looks back to the time when the Puritans first started coming to America in the 17th century and setting up colonies in what would come to be known as New England.

The accepted wisdom is that the Puritans were forced to flee England and Europe because they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs, and that they arrived in the Americas, which they regarded as an empty, previously untrodden land despite the presence of the Native Americans, with ideas of creating a brand new society for the free.

A free society where everyone would be able to live they way they chose with no fear of repression. But although this is the prevailing myth, is it really the whole story behind the Puritans move to the New World or does this story even hold any truth at all?

Religious Reformation in England

For many hundreds of years during the medieval period, England was a religiously homogenous country practising the Catholic faith. Yes, some medieval English monarchs, notably King John, regularly fell from grace with the Pope and the Inquisition never gained any ground in the country, but on the whole English kings were good servants of the Church and heretics were burned at times with the characteristic Catholic zeal and enthusiasm.

Protestant beliefs and ideas began to enter into the country in the early 16th century, when rather more fingers than usual started to be pointed at the excessive riches and carnality of the Catholic clergy and monasteries. Demands were being made by people for the bible to be translated, so that they could read the scriptures in English rather than Latin, and a desire for a simpler way to worship the deity and a move away from ostentatious Catholic ritual was beginning to be expressed.

Growth of the Protestant Church

The break from the Catholic Church came when King Henry VIII came into conflict with the Pope over the matter of the divorce that he wanted from his first wife Catherine of Aragon, who had failed in her duty of producing a male heir to the throne. Now granting a divorce was well within the Pope’s power, and happened rather more frequently than you may think in medieval Europe, but Queen Catherine had powerful relatives on the continent.

These included Charles V the Holy Roman Emperor, who was one of the major opponents of the Protestant Reformation. So after several years of bickering with the Papacy, Henry VIII eventually broke away from the Church of Rome to form the Church of England, with the ensuing benefits of being able to ditch his wife Catherine so that he could marry Anne Boleyn and boosting his treasury by siphoning off the money that was liberated from the dissolution of the monasteries.

But this new entity, the Church of England, was essentially the Catholic Church without the Pope and the monasteries and was essentially a conservative institution with the king as its head. For the rest of the reign of Henry VIII, and that of subsequent Tudor monarchs there would be fierce competition between the new Protestants and Catholics for supremacy, with several shifts of power that would see many innocent people caught in the political crossfire and executed for their religious beliefs.

Dissension Among the Protestant Factions

But there was also dissension among the Protestants themselves over how far the reform of the Church should go, and over the years a split began to form between the members of the Church of England.

A new group began to emerge who would become known as the Puritans, who were virulently opposed to the elaborate ritual and liturgy of the Catholic Church that they believed was still too prevalent in the Church of England, and who resented and wanted to eliminate any religious practices that in any way still resembled the Catholicism from which this new church had sprung from.

The Puritans were adherents of the Reformed theology of Calvin, and their beliefs attached great importance to preaching, the supremacy of God, a literal belief in scripture, and worshipping in a simple manner without the rituals, crosses and ornate church decorations that they so despised in the Catholic Church.

Of course, this belief in the supremacy of God put them on a collision course with the rulers of the day who, having managed to wriggle free from having to defer to the Pope, were none too keen on having to moderate their rule and control of the church in order to please the deity.

Still, King James I tried to find a way to accommodate the religious practices of the new Puritan clergy with that of the more conservative members of the Church of England who were in the majority, but the sense of alienation the Puritans felt from the established Church just continued to grow.

King Charles I and the Puritans

The religious and political climate in England became even more febrile at the start of the 17th century, with the Catholic cause not being helped by the Guy Fawkes plot of 1605 and the Puritans remaining strongly opposed to mainstream royal ecclesiastical policy. Things came to a head when King Charles I came to the throne in 1625 and in the first few years of his reign the Puritans in Parliament strongly opposed his royal authority.

In order to maintain his royal power base and rid himself of those he viewed as his enemies, including many Puritans, Charles I took the unprecedented step of dissolving Parliament altogether in 1629. The Puritans, probably quite rightly, interpreted this as a hostile act towards themselves and their religious practices, and so many decided to leave England and settle in the Americas, where they could develop their own communities based on their own beliefs.

1629 Seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
1629 Seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

The Puritans Flee to New England

Most of these Puritan immigrants headed for the area now known as New England, and they founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629. In fact the decade 1630-1640 became known as the Great Migration and some 80,000 Puritans left England and Europe during this time.

Most of these migrants came from the Eastern counties of England and they tended to be tradesmen or skilled craftsmen rather than farmers, who were more highly educated than was usual for the time.

They were affluent enough to be able to afford to pay for their own passages and migrated in small, nuclear families rather than in larger family groupings, with more men than women making the long sea voyage. The Winthrop Fleet in 1630 was one of the first to leave with eleven ships taking seven hundred Puritan souls to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

This mass exodus continued until 1640 when the English Parliament was reconvened and when the Civil War erupted in 1641 some of the new colonists returned to fight on the side of Parliament and Oliver Cromwell. During the years of the Civil War and then throughout the Protectorate that followed, the Puritans had no need to leave the shores of England, as although Oliver Cromwell was tolerant of an individual’s right to private worship, he embraced the Puritan way of life and was intent on bringing about a moral and spiritual regeneration in the country he now ruled.

Freedom of Religion in the New World

So did this group of people who bravely crossed an ocean in order to start a new life and build communities where they were free to live and practice their religion as they chose, then offer this same freedom to other migrants when they got there? The answer, unfortunately, is no, as once settled in New England the Puritan communities demanded complete unity of thought and behaviour from their members.

However, there was dissent even among this very close, deeply religious community. The majority of the Puritans who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and then founded the Connecticut Colony in 1636 were non-separating, which means that although they wished to purify and reform the established Church of England, they still wanted to remain a part of it. However, when you turned up at the Massachusetts Bay Colony with your family, seeking to find a new home with like-minded folks, you were assessed and if your religious beliefs and practices were found wanting in any way then you were not allowed in.

Roger Williams and Narragansetts
Roger Williams and Narragansetts

Puritan Groups

There were also groups of migrants known as separating Puritans or Separatists, who believed that the Church of England was so corrupt and resistant to reform that they needed to form their own congregations. One of the most famous of these separatist groups was the one hundred Pilgrim Fathers who sailed to New England on the Mayflower in 1620, landing at a place that that became known as New Plymouth.

Many of those expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony moved on to help establish the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, which had been founded by a separatist preacher called Roger Williams. Roger Williams had originally arrived in Massachusetts in 1631. He was initially offered a position to become a Teacher in the church there, but declined it because he regarded it as a ‘un-separated’ church. He also believed in freedom of religion for all and was vocal in his condemnation of the civil magistrates in the colony punishing religious offenses such not observing the Sabbath or idolatry.

He was extended an offer to preach at the church in Salem, which was a more to his liking as it was separatist, but this was blocked by the leaders in Boston, and Williams moved on to New Plymouth towards the end of 1631. However, he soon came to view the Plymouth Colony as being not sufficiently reformed or separated from the corruption of the Church of England and he also espoused the view, which was highly unusual at that time, that the Colonial Charters were not valid because the land had not been purchased from the Native Americans who were the original inhabitants of the region.

Roger Williams

He wrote an extensive tract in 1632 that attacked King James’s assertion that he had been the first king to discover the land of New England that enraged the leaders of the Massachusetts colony, and when he returned to preach in Salem he was summoned to appear before the General Court in December 1633.

Although he promised to keep quiet and not advertise his opposition to the colonial charters, he was unable to stop and also started to insist that the Salem church separate. He became so troublesome to the powers that be that he was hauled before the General Court again in October1635 charged with sedition and heresy and was banished from the colony. However, as long as he did not stir up any further trouble he was not required to leave immediately due to his ill health and the fact that the harsh winter weather was imminent.

Yet again he was unable to remain silent about his views and was forced to flee from the colony in January 1636 before he was taken up by the sheriff. He had to walk over a hundred miles through the severe winter weather, before he was saved by members of the Wampanoag tribe and brought to the camp of their chief Massasoit. He sought to establish a new colony by buying land from Massasoit, but was told by the Plymouth colony that he was still within their land grant, and so was forced to cross the Seekonk River and found Providence on land he gained from the Narragansett.

Trial of Anne Hutchinson
Trial of Anne Hutchinson

Expulsions and Puritan Beliefs

Another who was expelled along with her followers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for what were regarded as her unorthodox religious beliefs was Anne Hutchinson. She had arrived in New England in 1634 with her husband and large family of children in the wake of a man called John Cotton, who had mesmerised her with his charismatic preaching back in the old country. She worked as a midwife and also held religious meetings for women at her home, where she was very vocal in expressing her not very favourable opinions of the local ministers.

These meetings became so popular that the men of the colony also started to attend, including the governor Harry Vane. To the Puritan mind the fate of all men was predestined, and so whether it was your fate to be saved or sent to suffer the torments of hell for all eternity had been decided at the time of your birth by God. Therefore, leading a good life and strict religious observance could not help you if you were not one of the chosen.

The problem was that the Puritans also believed that only someone who had been saved should be able to take communion and be a church member, but how did you determine who was saved? Of necessity they had to base their judgement on a person’s actions and professed beliefs known as the ‘covenant of works’, but Anne Hutchinson and her follower rocked the boat by stating that somebody needed to have had a direct experience of God before they could determine whether or not they were saved.

And if somebody knew that they had already been saved, then why did they need to be bound by the strict religious rules and practices of the colony?The crisis that this divergence in beliefs stirred up was called the Antinomian Controversy and led to Anne Hutchinson being tried and banished from the colony, in 1637. She received a warm welcome from Roger Williams and he was instrumental in persuading her to set up the settlement of Portsmouth in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

Oliver Cromwell by Sir Peter Lely
Oliver Cromwell by Sir Peter Lely

The Quakers in New England

Another group who were not allowed to practice their religion in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were the Quakers, who had been founded by George Fox in the 1640s after he began to receive direct revelation from an inner voice that he believed to be that of the Holy Spirit. This belief of the Quakers in a personal, inner communication with the deity put them at odds with the religious beliefs of the Puritans who placed paramount importance on the scriptures as being the only true source of God’s word.

Two Quaker women called Ann Austin and Mary Fisher arrived in the colony from Barbados in 1656 on a ship called the Swallow. However, they were not even allowed to set foot on dry land before their possessions were searched and many of their books deemed heretical and taken away from them. They were taken to prison where they were treated like witches and had to endure being stripped searched, as their jailers searched for the physical signs that were thought to identify someone as a witch.

Five weeks later the Captain of the Swallow was forced under duress to take them back to Barbados, and another eight Quakers were also forcibly repatriated to England after being imprisoned for eleven weeks. This influx of Quakers was considered to be so undesirable that a new law was created in Massachusetts that fined any ship’s captain bringing a Quaker into the colony £100, fined any colonist caught in possession of a Quaker book £5, and any Quaker unwise enough to try to settle in the colony was ordered to be arrested, whipped and thrown straight back out again.

However, this did not deter the Quakers from arriving in Massachusetts and trying to spread their faith, even though many were whipped and then turned out. It was decided by the authorities that an much greater deterrent was now required and an even more draconian law was introduced in 1658 that allowed for capital punishment and four Quakers who refused to renounce their faith and stop preaching were hung between the years 1659 and 1661. King Charles II eventually intervened and ordered that all Quakers be sent back to England to be tried, which put an end to the executions, but not the banishments.

Restoration of Charles II

Back in England, it was the restoration to the throne of King Charles II in 1660, after the death of Oliver Cromwell, which restored the Church of England back to its former pre-eminence and led to the Puritans once more feeling alienated and oppressed. Around 2,400 of the Puritan clergy left the church in 1662 in what became known at the ‘Great Ejection. They became included in a group known as the Dissenters as they rejected the Book of Common Prayer produced in 1662.

They formed their own separatist churches during the following two decades, which the government tried to suppress with the Clarendon Code and when this did not work they tried to introduce schemes of ‘comprehension’ designed to encourage them back into the fold of the Church of England, without much success.

Somewhat ironically, during the years of Oliver Cromwell’s protectorate it was many royalist supporters, staunch members of the Church of England, who had felt obliged to flee what they regarded as religious persecution from the Puritans and migrated to the American colonies in Virginia. And, of course, the poor Catholics were not tolerated by any of them, and even King James II himself was forced off the throne and exiled to the continent when he embraced the Catholicism of his wife Mary of Modena and a bill was passed in Parliament that prohibited future monarchs from being Catholics or even marrying a Catholic.

So we are left wondering just who the persecutor was and who was being persecuted? The Puritans in England and Europe certainly came into conflict with the established Church of England, as they were deeply intolerant of the practices of this Church and wished to reform and purify it.

The Church of England pushed back against these proposed reforms, which they regarded as attacks and there was a continual fight for supremacy of belief and practice where neither party was prepared to back down or compromise. When the Puritans migrated to America and formed their own communities, despite the persecution they felt they were fleeing from, they did not extend religious tolerance to others, but insisted that their new land for saints was one of total unity of thought and practice.

So when you are enjoying your turkey next Thanksgiving and smiling at the holiday images of the pilgrims, just spare a thought for the poor souls who were not embraced by this brave new world, and suffered banishment or even death because their religious beliefs did not match those of the people who had the greatest influence in the new colonies.


All images Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image


        4 months ago

        I wanna know the real answer about why did the puritans left europe to establish a pure religion in the new found land (america)?

      • profile image

        Tom Gibb 

        5 months ago

        Very good piece...except you downplay the roll of English Catholics throughout this period. The Puritans who settled Northern Ireland and the first colonies in the Americas, left England not to escape persecution - but rather because they were not allowed to persecute their Catholic enemies.

        Under Elizabeth and James Catholics formed a significant portion of the population...probably a majority for the first half of Elizabeth's reign. The main argument between the monarchy and puritans was about how to deal with the Catholics at a time when Europe was tearing itself apart with bloody religious civil wars.

        The English monarchs were extremely keen to avoid civil war. Targeted by catholic assassination attempts, they took a very practical and more tolerant line to stop catholic opposition from gaining support. Catholics were largely left alone to privately worship in peace as long as they were loyal to the crown. The puritans were vehemently opposed to this policy. They wanted to root out catholicism. So even though James 1 had been brought up a good Calvinist - he was increasingly disliked by many puritans. Charles 1, who had much stronger catholic leanings, was detested.

        In this light the Pilgrim Fathers did not set sail to escape persecution. Rather they were intolerant Calvinists who fled from an environment in which they were not allowed to persecute their Catholic religious enemies.

        It took 150 years of religious slaughter, into the second half of the 17th century and the end of the 30 years war, for Europe to realise that tolerance was the only way to end the bloodshed. Gradually the idea of tolerance took root - although it has always had a bumpy ride....Hitler, Stalin....(Brexit???)

        Having met many of the fundamentalist evangelical missionaries that the United States has exported in recent decades, both in Central America and Africa - tolerance is something many in the US still need to learn about as well.

      • profile image

        joe harris 

        7 months ago


      • My Esoteric profile image

        My Esoteric 

        9 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

        My particular way out of your bind, Dream On, is to think of the Big Bang as God. From that point, all that is and later thought emerged from "God's Plan" as it were.

        From this beginning follows the idea that everything there is, including the human body, and all that is thought in the Universe are a part of God (think Pantheism ... sort of) and result from God's design.

        Except for one crucial question, in that theory can be found the answer to most of the perplexing problems humans face. The exception is the answer to "What came before the Big Bang?"

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        9 months ago from Other Side of the Sun

        I think we all need to trust ourselves more and not wait for others to tell us what to believe and how to behave. Faith is a personal matter and different for everyone

      • DREAM ON profile image

        DREAM ON 

        9 months ago

        After reading the real history and believing the lies told over most of my life I am torn between any religious belief. It is sad to think we believe lies until told otherwise. I heard religion was just a way of controlling the masses. Have you heard the Vatican still will not allow the real truth about Jesus and it is kept for the inner circle of the church only? I am not sure what to believe is real when there are so many conspiracy theories about everything today. How do you separate the fact from the fiction. Thank you for all your hard work and knowledge. Have a wonderful night.

      • profile image

        Steven in Missouri 

        16 months ago

        Glad to read the informative commentary. It was interesting about the Puritans, Anglicans and Catholics in England, and the Puritans and people embracing other types of faith going to America. The Dutch had a substantial colony at New Amsterdam even before the New England Puritans and while they mandated the Dutch Reform Church belief, in actual fact, it was very multicultural with many English, some of whom were fleeing from the religious persecution of the Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay colony. Ann Hutchinson was killed by Native People, I think at a place called Split Rock, I think what became Brooklyn.

        Perhaps even more important to the British Empire was the invasion or occupation of Ireland by Cromwell and his allies. The native Irish, primarily Catholic and speaking Gaelic were displaced from their lands and properties and Cromwell disbursed or distributed the lands in Ireland to his followers, the debts he accumulated during the English Civil Wars being repaid with land he took from the Irish and distributed to his followers, I think primarily in the North of Ireland, but probably some in the South in the areas of Cork, which had been granted to Sir Walter Raleigh by Queen Elizabeth I. This set up the continued conflict between the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, and eventually probably led to the Great Famine from abotu 1846 to 1849 when the potato crops failed, about a million people dying, another million people leaving Ireland, many for America but some to Australia and even England. This led to even greater conflict between the English and Irish and eventually to the bulk of Ireland revolting against England and becoming the Republic of Ireland.

        Probably Cromwell is blamed for many things which he didn't actually do, but no question he was one of the world's greatest military leaders in achieving his victory in the English Civil War, and his protracted war against King Charles I and eventually execution of King Charles I has resulted in the long term consequence of Parliaments and people's duly elected representatives governing with the consent of the governed rather than the Divine Right of Kings to Rule according to their personal preferences. While the Magna Carta was one of the first documents to limit the right of kings to govern, it did not have the absolute authority which the Parliament under the Lord Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell had. England for a time was a Republic and ironically, the Republic repudiated itself with the restoration of the Monarchy and submitted to Charles II.

        The monarchy subsequently continued to govern, unfortunately with disastrous consequences with the occurrence of WWI, which apparently was in some ways a contest between the Monarchs of Europe, many of whom were cousins being descendants of Queen Victoria. WWI probably was the beginning of the end of the governing Monarchies of Europe and the start of the dissolution of their empires with WWII eventually continuing the process and leading to the development of the nation states in our current world.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James-MizBejabbers 

        2 years ago

        Very well written and factual hub. The truth is finally starting to come out about the Church, the churches and the founding of this country. We would probably be under the same constraints if our Constitution had not been written by the deists.

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Glad you enjoyed the hub and found the historical information useful DrBill. Hope you are enjoying great success with your fiction

      • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

        William Leverne Smith 

        4 years ago from Hollister, MO

        Thank you for sharing this historical background. Very useful as I write historical fiction in similar places and time. ;-)

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Thanks for reading the hub and leaving a comment Dolores. You would think that people who know what it feels like to be persecuted for their religious beliefs would be more tolerant of others, but often it doesn't seem to be the case. Unfortunately, too many of us think that what we believe is right, and that others have to share those beliefs.

      • Dolores Monet profile image

        Dolores Monet 

        4 years ago from East Coast, United States

        How sad that religion and the search for religious freedom wound up stigmatizing people of other religions. The constant battles for which would be the official state religion caused hardship for so many. The story of the Pilgrims, I believe, is made pretty for school children because they are children and don't really need to learn the injustices and cruelties of mankind until they are a bit older.

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Thanks Tony and I hope that your Elizabethan era novel goes well and becomes a success. For these periods in history, you just have to understand the influence that religion had on politics and people's behaviour. We might look on in bemusement now, but back then they were quite happy to die or kill for their religious beliefs. And unfortunately, we don't seem to have learned anything because we still do it today. Live and let live is my motto!

      • tonymead60 profile image

        Tony Mead 

        5 years ago from Yorkshire

        what a well presented and well written hub full of interesting facts backed up with useful ilustrations.

        I am researching the Elizabethan era for a novel I am planning. This ephoc has fascinated me for many years, the intrigue and skullduggery of the times was so involved. Religion was the core of most people's lives and so the importance of any change was extreme.

        You have researched this really well. voted up and buttons.



      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Thanks for reading the hub CR Rookwood and glad that you found it interesting. Also thank you for sharing the story of the first Thanksgiving from the Native American's perspective

      • CR Rookwood profile image

        Pamela Hutson 

        5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

        This is so good. So many Americans don't realize how intolerant the Pilgrims really were and how this intolerance and their original political system still impacts us today. I have a friend from here in the midwestern US who is Native American, and tells the story of the first Thanksgiving differently:

        When the Puritans first came here they had a lot of trouble surviving. They wore the wrong clothes, didn't know what it eat, got sick and died, and sometimes nearly starved. The Indians of that area held a conference on what to do with these strange and baffling white people. Half of the tribe wanted to kill all of them before they took over any more land; the other half wanted to help them.

        So they struck a compromise: They brought them wild turkeys, which at that time were the Indian equivalent of beans on toast, nothing special, hardship food--just enough to keep them alive--and left it at that.

        Who knows what the real story was. Probably somewhere in between the mainstream grade school mythology and my friend's version.

        Thanks to you here! lol! :)

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        It's about that long since I read 'Green Darkness' as well. I used to hoover up historical novels when I was a teenager, and I think that I read all the Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt, Elizabeth Goudge type novels that were in my local library at the time. I hope you enjoy reading it as much this time as you did in 1973.

      • gracenotes profile image


        5 years ago from North Texas

        Thank you! I will check out the Erskine novels! My most favorite historical time to read about is Tudor England, and numbers of people agree with me, it seems. I just went to Amazon, and saw that the main character in Green Darkness regresses to that very period of history. I haven't read the book since 1973, so it's time to read my paperback once more, with its yellowed pages which will no doubt disintegrate soon. :-)

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Awesome to have three of her autographed books gracenotes. I haven't read 'Green Darkness' for years, but if you enjoyed the story, I wonder if you have ever read any of Barbara Erskine's books? If you haven't, try 'The Lady of Hay' because I think that you would really enjoy it

      • gracenotes profile image


        5 years ago from North Texas

        Nice to see that someone else likes the work of Anya Seton. I have three autographed books of hers that I had her sign in the late 1970s, before her death. I mailed them to her along with a return envelope. I believe that some of her novels may have gone out of print at times. It's hard to pick a favorite Seton novel, but I like Green Darkness, My Theodosia, and Devil Water. Off topic, but anyway, thanks for writing this hub.

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Thanks for reading the hub and leaving a comment gracenotes. This is not a period that I have written about before, but I find the subject of people demanding religious tolerance for themselves and then denying it to others very interesting. If you know what it is like to be oppressed then why would you want to oppress someone else? Anya Seton is a very good writer and when I was a teenager my copy of her novel 'Katherine' literally disintegrated because I read it so many times!

      • gracenotes profile image


        5 years ago from North Texas

        Surely a fascinating time in American history. Always interested me. However, my ancestors came a bit later in the big wave of Scots-Irish immigration to North America.

        Some very good history (and occasional novels) have been written about this particular time. I like The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton.

        Thanks for the history lesson.

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Glad that you found the hub interesting Green Lotus. It always mystifies me that a group of people can demand that everyone is tolerant of their beliefs, but then show no tolerance themselves.

      • Green Lotus profile image


        6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

        This was such an interesting point well presented. It's historical stories such as this that confirm my distain for organized religion. The hypocrisy demonstrated by the religious intolerance of the Puritans in America set the path for what became permissible intolerance today. Rated up!

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        It's always a great pleasure when you visit one of my hubs Prasetio30, and I'm glad that you enjoyed reading about the Puritans in New England. Thanks for the visit and the vote up

      • prasetio30 profile image


        6 years ago from malang-indonesia

        I always love with History and I found great history through this hub. Very informative and I learn from you. Voted up :-)


      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Hi Cyndi10, thanks for reading the hub and leaving a comment. Protestant ideas were coming into England during the early 16th century, but Henry VIII was basically a Catholic who needed to divorce his wife. I always find it interesting that groups of people who have experienced something like religious persecution, then do exactly the same thing to another group of people. You would think that knowing what it feels like, they wouldn't dish it back out

      • Cyndi10 profile image

        Cynthia B Turner 

        6 years ago from Georgia

        Hello CMHypno, Very well done. If you think about it, someone who leaves their country for religious beliefs is more than likely pretty dogmatic. That can easily set the stage for intolerance. Religious freedom in early America was definitely a misnomer in my interpretation of everything I ever read. I always found it interesting the way the Church of England was developed, not out of any religious conviction, but rather for the convenience of throne. Great information and well researched.

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Thanks for reading the hub Natashalh, and your thoughtful comment. I think that back in the 17th century, religious tolerance was a very rare thing, and that it was unfortunately indoctrinated into most people that their faith was the only true and right one, and that anyone who believed differently was bad and probably dangerous to have around.

      • Natashalh profile image


        6 years ago from Hawaii

        I love it. This is so true! I try to tell people this sometimes, but everyone has been taught the same old story of religious tolerance for years.

        Voted up, useful, interesting, and awesome!

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Thanks for reading the hub and commenting Nell. The courage of some of these people amazes me, when they knew what might happen to them if they continued to profess their faith or keep on arguing. I might not share their beliefs, but I admire their courage and determination.

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        6 years ago from England

        Hi, loving history as I do, I was fascinated by this. It seems that whatever religion you were somehow it would upset someone. The puritans and the quakers, and all the others mixed in were certainly set in their belief system, so I can totally understand how the witch trials happened. I think I would have just kept my head down and agreed with whoever asked me! lol! rated up! cheers nell

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Glad that you hissed on by and enjoyed the hub Randy. I agree that a strong dose of self righteousness and an even strong will have made it easier for them to make a new life for themselves in the Americas. I'm not a great fan of organised religion, but the role it has played in history fascinates, and it also horrifies me what people are prepared to do to other people just because they have a different opinion or different religious beliefs

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        I'm glad that you enjoyed the hub so much My Esoteric and thank you for linking it to your own hubs.

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Thanks for reading the hub Alastar. How much of what happens in history is down to small coincidences, random events or the strange decisions we humans like making? Probably the Puritans zealousness helped them survive in what must have been a daunting, harsh new environment, and unfortunately it does seem to be the ruthless that survive and thrive

      • Randy Godwin profile image

        Randy Godwin 

        6 years ago from Southern Georgia

        Quiet a well researched and also well written piece as usual, Cynthia. These first settlers in our great country had to be a bit hard-headed as well as strong willed to want to make a go of it in the new World.

        You've covered the religious aspects thoroughly also. Gotta rate this one up cause you know I am a history buff! Enjoyed!


      • My Esoteric profile image

        My Esoteric 

        6 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

        I think this a wonderful and informative hub as well, CMHypno. I will be including it as a link on several of my history and religious hubs.

      • Alastar Packer profile image

        Alastar Packer 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Much new on the Puritians history CM. They and the Quaker sect were unyielding religious zealots alright. Guess the Puritans more so, at least the Quakers welcomed people like Anne into their colony. Sometimes wonder what would have happened if the Dutch- who were at the top of the European game at the time- had really backed New Nether-land up to hold against the English. Might have made for some very interesting history.

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Glad that you enjoyed it Jacobkuttyta and that you found this slice of history of the Puritans interesting. Thanks for reading the article and leaving a comment

      • jacobkuttyta profile image

        Siny Jacob Kutty 

        6 years ago from Delhi, India

        Very interesting historical facts. Thanks for sharing the history of puritans. Informative and educating...voted up

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Thanks for the lovely compliments about the hub drbj and glad that you enjoyed my quick summary of the religious turmoil in 17th century England that drove the Puritans across the ocean and what they did when they arrived

      • drbj profile image

        drbj and sherry 

        6 years ago from south Florida

        Thanks, CM, for providing so much of the information about the Puritan emigration that one never finds in the standard history books. Your writing just pulled me along. Well done. Voted Up.

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Thanks for visiting Pamela99. The same stories probably didn't come out of the Jamestown settlement, because it wasn't established for religious reasons, but was set up for trade by the Virginia Company of London. The supreme irony is that there seems to be a lot more tolerance and brotherhood of man, when people are concentrating on things that religious folk abhor such as making money.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        6 years ago from United States

        This is a well-written hub that covers history in the early 1600's and the intolerance of so many. I have studied this time also, as I do a lot of genealogy research. Many atrocities did happen in the name of religion and I imagine that is why many people moved south or further inland. You don't hear quite the same stories with the Jamestown settlement. Very interesting hub.

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Well I'm not 'saved' either Wes, which I view as a good thing. If heaven is stuffed full of religious folk, I'm glad I'm not going!

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Hi John, before the Protestant reformation in the late 15th/early 16th century all of Western Europe was Catholic. A lot of Eastern Europe was part of the Turkish Empire and there were tensions there between the Orthodox Church and the Muslim faith of the invaders. There are still many Catholics in Northern Europe, in parts of Germany, Poland and, of course, Ireland.

        Henry VIII before the reformation used to pride himself on what a good Catholic he was, and was awarded the title 'Defender of the Faith' by Pope Leo X. What he wanted was to get rid of his wife, not get rid of his religious beliefs which remained largely Catholic to the end and his last wife, Catherine Parr, was almost arrested for her Protestant beliefs.

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        CMHypno - I can speak circles around most Christians with greater theological insight than the greatest majority I've ever met or read.

        ...I don't go to church - because most of what I see are pomp and circumstance, and an outright lack of understanding in favour of promoting social mobility, and social acceptance.

        ...so I'd imagine most Christians then or now - wouldn't consider me the slightest bit "saved." I, however, know quite the contrary is true.

      • CMHypno profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

        Thanks for reading the hub and leaving a comment Wes. I hope that not too many descendants of those earliest colonists are offended, but at the end of the day the Puritans lost out in the religious bullying stakes in England, so moved elsewhere to set up their own regime. Doesn't mean that the CofE enforcers were any better. I wonder what they would think of America or the UK now? Probably not too many of us 'saved' lol!

      • John Sarkis profile image

        John Sarkis 

        6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

        This is a really great hub. I think it's great how you state that many English were Catholic at one point; it's the assumption by many that Northern Europe is mostly Protestant, whereas Southern Europe is mostly Catholic, and this isn't always the case. Additionally, in the beginning, there were little differences between the Catholic and Protestant Churches and it wasn't until later on that the differences became more and more apparent.

        I really enjoyed your very well written article - voted up


      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Typically well written and thorough - you managed to not offend we great great great (pick your number of "greats") grandchildren of the immigrants much at all.

        I've always started with the notion that if it is taught in amoral American public schools, that it is merely corporate propaganda.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)