Puritan Democracy

Submitted by: Submitted by

Views: 219

Words: 263

Pages: 2

Category: US History

Date Submitted: 09/24/2012 06:28 PM

Report This Essay

Sophie Cram

Period B

US History .1


Democracy in the Puritan Community

For the Puritans, the idea of democracy was a very new concept having just left the tyrannical British Empire for religious freedom. To them, it meant that any landowning white male who followed God’s laws had the right to vote and voice their opinions. This meant that Puritan societies were almost all patriarchal and the religious white males had all the power. Women were not allowed to make many decisions, if any at all and were persecuted when they tried to change the “status quo” in the community (like in Anne Hutchinson’s case.) Though they did give trials for those accused of a crime, it was usually very biased and these male leaders would often determine the ultimate outcome. Democracy was liberating but only for those who were “privileged” enough to have that liberty. It meant that the Puritans were free to practice their own religious beliefs without worrying about an autocratic King looking over their shoulders, but it wasn’t as freeing as we’d like to think.

As for those who disagreed with Puritan practices, they weren’t welcomed into the community at all and if they were found deviating from the “laws of God” they were banished in most cases. Such people like Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson longed for a different kind of freedom and gave new meaning to the term Democracy. Puritans would most likely find our definition of democracy today appalling and not fully understand why each of us has the freedoms we do.