Early American Literature to 1700 - American Puritanism
Early American Writers An introduction to the writing of the Puritans who came to North America for freedom and went on to practice Aspects of the Puritan Legacy:
Each has positive and negative The need for implications. moral justification for private, public, and governmental acts. The Questing for Freedom - personal, political, economic, and social. The Puritan work ethic. Elegiac verse - morbid fascination with death.
The city upon the hill - concept of manifest destiny. Early American Writers John Winthrop (1588-1649): One of the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Winthrop arrived in 1630 aboard the flagship Arbella. On board the Arbella, he prepared and delivered his famous sermon "A Model of Christian Charity." In this speech, Winthrop introduced the concept of Manifest Destiny, stating "For we must consider
that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672): First female poet published in the New World. Bradstreets poetry captured the struggles Puritan women faced in North American, her love for her family, and her intense religious faith. Early American Writers
Edward Taylor (1642-1729): Colonial American poet, physician, and pastor for over sixty years. Many of his poems explored the individuals relationship with God. Jonathan Edwards(1703-1758): Famed theologian and preacher who helped lead the First Great Awakening (~1730-1755). His most famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, showcased his defense of Puritan ideals.
Basic Puritan Beliefs Total Depravity 2. Unconditional Election 3. Limited Atonement 4. Irresistible Grace 5. Perseverance of the "saints 1.
Total Depravity Total Depravity through Adam and Eve's fall, every person is born sinful concept of Original Sin Unconditional Election Unconditional Election - God "saves" those he wishes - only a few are selected
for salvation elitism + concept of predestination. Limited Atonement Limited Atonement - Jesus died for the chosen only, not for everyone. elitism Irresistable Grace
Irresistible Grace - God's grace is freely given, it cannot be earned or denied. Grace is defined as the saving and transfiguring power of God. born again. Perseverance of the "saints" Perseverance of the "saints" - those elected by God have full power to interpret the will of God, and to live uprightly. If anyone rejects grace after feeling its power in his life, he will be going against the will of God - something impossible in
Puritanism. Additional Beliefs: Typology Typology: The belief that God's intentions are present in human action (everyday behavior) and in natural phenomenon (i.e. flooding, a bountiful harvest, lightning striking a home).
Additional Beliefs: Manifest Destiny Manifest Destiny: The concept that America had a special destiny. It was first articulated by John Winthrop in his famous sermon aboard The Arbella (1630) when he likened the Puritan Bay Colony to a a city upon a hill with the eyes of all people on it. From this beginning, the concept has had religious, social, economic, and political consequences. Additional Beliefs: Backsliding
Backsliding: The belief that "saved" believers, those with visible signs of grace, can fall into temptation and become sinners. To prevent this, believers were expected not to become smug, do constant soul-searching, be introspective, and pray constantly. Satan was particularly interested in snaring such believers. The Function/Purposes of Puritan Writers
1. To transform a mysterious God mysterious because He is separate from the world. 2. To make Him more relevant to the universe. 3. To glorify God. The Style of Puritan Writing
1. Protestant - against ornateness; reverence for the Bible. PURITAN PLAIN STYLE 2. Purposiveness - there was a purpose to Puritan writing ==didactic 3. Puritan writing reflected the character and scope of the reading public, which was literate and well-grounded in religion. Puritanism
Puritans V. Forces Undermining 1. A person's natural desire to do good works against Puritanism the idea of predestination. 2. Dislike of a "closed" life. 3. Resentment of the power of the few over many. 4. Change in economic conditions - growth of fishery,
farms, etc. 5. Presence of the leaders of dissent - Anne Hutchinson, Roger Williams. 6. The presence of the frontier - concept of self-reliance, individualism, and optimism. 7. Change in political conditions - Massachusetts became a Crown colony.
8. Theocracy suffered from a lack of flexibility. 9. Growth of rationality - use of the mind to know God less dependence on the Bible. 10. Cosmopolitanism of the new immigrants. Two Important New England Settlements The Plymouth Colony Flagship Mayflower arrives - 1620 Leader - William Bradford Settlers known as Pilgrims and Separatists
"The Mayflower Compact" provides for social, religious, and economic freedom, while still maintaining ties to Great Britain. The Massachusetts Bay Colony Flagship Arbella arrives - 1630 Leader - John Winthrop Settlers are mostly Puritans or Congregational Puritans "The Arbella Covenant" clearly establishes a religious and theocratic settlement, free of ties to Great Britain. VI. Visible Signs of Puritan Decay
1. Visible decay of godliness. 2. Manifestations of pride - especially among the new rich. 3. Presence of "heretics" - Quakers and Anabaptists.
4. Violations of the Sabbath and swearing and sleeping during sermons. 5. Decay in family government. 6. People full of contention - rise in lawsuits and lawyers. 7. Sins of sex and alcohol on the increase. 8. Decay in business morality - lying, laborers underpaid, etc. 9. No disposition to reform. 10. Lacking in social behavior.
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