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Religion in Colonial America Essay

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Religion was the foundation of the early Colonial American Puritan writings. Many of the early settlements were comprised of men and women who fled Europe in the face of persecution to come to a new land and worship according to their own will. Their beliefs were stalwartly rooted in the fact that God should be involved with all facets of their lives and constantly worshiped. These Puritans writings focused on their religious foundations related to their exodus from Europe and religions role in their life on the new continent. Their literature helped to proselytize the message of God and focused on hard work and strict adherence to religious principles, thus avoiding eternal damnation. These main themes are evident in the writings of Jonathan Edwards, Cotton Mathers, and John Winthrop. This paper will explore the writings of these three men and how their religious views shaped their literary works, styles, and their historical and political views.
John Winthrop 1588-1649
John Winthrop was a pioneer for religious freedom in America. As one of the early settlers sailing west on the Arbella, he composed a sermon called A Model for Christian Charity. Winthrop’s sermon is the framework for creating the spiritual colony that he envisioned and a way to unite the people coming to a new land. The people traveling west were not from one group but rather came from many groups and backgrounds. Winthrop knew that in order to succeed in the wilderness these individuals would have to give up some of their individuality for the greater good of the colony. Winthrop felt that religion was the ultimate way to accomplish this and that Christ was the perfect model to follow. In one passage he says:
For patterns we have that first o...


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...p. cccxi). London: William Ball Paternoster-Row.
Walker, R. (2001). Cotton Mather. Retrieved fromhttp://www2.iath.virginia.edu/salem/people/c_mather.html
Baym, N. (2008). Cotton mather. In N. Baym (Ed.), The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume 1 (p. 143). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Wise, P. M. (2005). Cotton mathers's wonders of the invisible world: An authoritative edition. (dissertation, Georgia State University)Retrieved fromhttp://digitalarchive.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=english_diss
Mather, C. (2008). From the Wonders of the Invisible World. In N. Baym (Ed.), The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume 1 (pp. 147). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Winthrop, J. (2008). A Model for Christian Charity. In N. Baym (Ed.), The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume 1 (pp. 82). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.


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