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Old July 9th, 2018, 11:48 PM   #1
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Questions on the Puritans


1. Was the population growth rate of the Puritans absurdly high, or was it average for the time?

2. What political effects did the Puritans actually have on New England long term? Puritans are blamed for a lot of cultural and political ideas, but New England was the most liberal part of the United States as early as the American Revolutionary War itself, indicating that Puritan influence quickly dropped off.

3. Who was a more influential and numerous group in the Thirteen Colonies: Puritans or Huguenots?
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Old July 10th, 2018, 01:52 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
1. Was the population growth rate of the Puritans absurdly high, or was it average for the time?
I don't know about it being "absurdly" high, but it was far higher than Virginia, mostly because New England had a cooler and healthier climate and was less prone to diseases than the Chesapeake area.

Quote:
2. What political effects did the Puritans actually have on New England long term? Puritans are blamed for a lot of cultural and political ideas, but New England was the most liberal part of the United States as early as the American Revolutionary War itself, indicating that Puritan influence quickly dropped off.
I think you are under the influence of old stereotypes about the Puritans. Here is a book you should read if you want a better understanding of them.

David D. Hall A Reforming People: Puritanism and the Transformation of Public Life in New England 2011

From the book description:

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A revelatory account of the aspirations and accomplishments of the people who founded the New England colonies, comparing the reforms they enacted with those attempted in England during the period of the English Revolution.

Distinguished historian David D. Hall looks afresh at how the colonists set up churches, civil governments, and methods for distributing land. Bringing with them a deep fear of arbitrary, unlimited authority grounded in either church or state, these settlers based their churches on the participation of laypeople and insisted on “consent” as a premise of all civil governance. Encouraging broad participation and relying on the vigorous use of petitioning, they also transformed civil and criminal law and the workings of courts. The outcome was a civil society far less authoritarian and hierarchical than was customary in their age—indeed, a society so advanced that a few dared to describe it as “democratical.” They were well ahead of their time in doing so.

As Puritans, the colonists also hoped to exemplify a social ethics of equity, peace, and the common good. In a case study of a single town, Hall follows a minister as he encourages the townspeople to live up to these high standards in their politics. This is a book that challenges us to discard long-standing stereotypes of the Puritans as temperamentally authoritarian and their leadership as despotic. Hall demonstrates exactly the opposite. Here, we watch the colonists as they insist on aligning institutions and social practice with equity and liberty.
Of course you have to understand this in the context of the 17th century when authoritarianism and oppression was strong just about everywhere in Europe and the colonies. The last half of the 18th century would show significant improvement in seeral western countries, due to Enlightenment thinking. An exception is France, and instead of the Bourbons gradually increasing freedoms, they get the French Revolution instead.

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3. Who was a more influential and numerous group in the Thirteen Colonies: Puritans or Huguenots?
The Puritans were far more numerous and therefore more influential in the British colonies. By 1700 the only significant Hugenot presence was in New York where they made up about 25% of the population. The Quakers were also more influential in influencing more modern thinking than the Huguenots, although they arrived in the colonies decades after the Puritans.
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Old July 10th, 2018, 06:31 AM   #3
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Whenever someone mentions Puritans and Quakers I always think of Mary Dyer and the Boston Martyrs.
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Old July 10th, 2018, 06:57 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by MacFarlane View Post
Whenever someone mentions Puritans and Quakers I always think of Mary Dyer and the Boston Martyrs.
its incidents like that, and Roger Williams & Anne Hutchinson, and the witch trials that most people know about and why there are stereotypes of the whole of Puritan history in New England.

But even after you learn much more about the positive contributions Puritans made, it doesn't make the Dyer event look good. But then most of the 17th century anywhere wasn't all that uplifting unless you are inspired by the Thirty Years' War.
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