Puritanism began to establish in the late 1600 s when many people within the Church of England wanted to purify and create a middle course between Roman Catholicism and the ideas of the Protestant reformers.
Puritanism is a term that originates from the religious group called the Puritans. They were a denomination formed by the great Protestant Reformation in Europe. They were known as nonconformists and dissenters because of their refusal to submit to the Church of England.
Because of this, the Puritans and their theology soon died out in Europe. However, the puritan ideas and beliefs flourished in the New World. Puritanism starts with the theology of the Puritans. First they believed in the sovereignty of God. That is, only God had the highest power or rank. This meant that a man did not have the power to hold authority over other men.
In 1620 Puritanism reached the United States, creating the Plymouth colony. Puritans fled from England because of religious persecution. They were being physically beaten because of their religious beliefs; therefore they attempted to create a Utopia or "City upon a hill" in the New World. There "City upon a hill" began with a government based on religious beliefs. It developed into a government, which condemned those who did not believe in the Puritan beliefs. For example, one had to believe in the Puritan religion and attend church to vote and become a member of the Puritan society. This practice further developed into a situation in which you were beaten or killed if you did not believe in the Puritan religion and remained in Puritan "Utopia .
Holiness means, for the puritans, that you are one of the chosen by God. Although it does not guarantee you entrance into God s holy kingdom, it does mean that at least while you are on Earth, God has chosen you to be one of his people. In present day life Puritans are portrayed as drab lifeless people. But in reality Puritans enjoyed their lives very well. There were certain limitations to what Puritans could actually enjoy. They had to follow certain rules that are paradoxes in themselves. You could also get married, but you could not devote yourself to your wife one hundred percent because your focus must always be on God. You could also have fun, but not overwhelm yourself with joy, since the only thing that you could overwhelm yourself in was God. All of these things sound extremely overwhelming and it seems as though there could be no possible way of doing all of this without committing suicide.
Sources 1. Lukes, Bonnie L. Colonial America: World History Series. San Diego: Lucent Books, 2000.
2. Dudley, William, ed. Puritanism: Opposing viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1994.
3. Zeichner, Oscar. Hutchinson, Anne. Grolier Encyclopedia. International ed. 1999.