How did New England transition from being puritanical to being liberal?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#21
The Puritans became a minority after more and more Europeans immigrated into the US, especially during the late 19th century. There are actually more German-Americans than there are English-Americans. And there are more Irish-Americans than the English-Americans.
Was New England still puritanical in the 18th century?
 
Oct 2011
7,645
MARE PACIFICVM
#23
I define "liberal" as wanting greater personal freedom in the social sphere (abortion, the right to marry, drug decriminalization, et cetera) while wanting a large government hand in the economy in order to redistribute wealth to those people who are less fortunate.


So, how did New England evolve from a region ruled by Christian ayatollahs to being the U.S.'s most liberal (and probably tolerant as well) region?
That's a very complex and multi-faceted question that would require someone more specialized in the history of New England than I am to answer properly. Off the cuff, I'm thinking that for one thing, Puritanism largely collapsed under its own weight as the population grew. It's very difficult to hold people to the intense level of deprevation and religious devotion that Puritan leaders demanded of all members of their community. It strikes me as the sort of thing that might work okay for very small communities but will never last more than a few generations in a large scale population center.
Which ties into my next idea about NE's ideological transformation, which is that it industrialized and urbanized to quite a large degree and quite quickly in comparison to the rest of the United States. This transformation, combined with a Puritan population losing steam with each passing generation, and large scale immigration from non-Puritan Europe may have created the recipe that produced largely liberal-progressive modern New England.
 
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betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,623
#24
There is still a lot of Puritan influence in New England. For example, there is a lack of bright colors. There are various attitudes and styles. Most of the people in New England moved to better farmland in upstate New York, the midwest, and west, and mixed with non Puritans. New England became a high percentage post-1800 immigrant.

Most of the Congregationalists became Unitarians or United Church of Christ. In rural areas many became Baptist. Those that moved to the midwest generally merged with Presbyterians. Currently, Congregationalist tends to be a very elite religion, like Episcopalian, which is very different.
 
Oct 2016
862
Merryland
#25
they got complacent and worldly. they stopped going to church and stopped taking their children to church. they de-emphasized the Bible and its teachings.

same thing happened and happening in much of US

ironically the USA South was originally considered to be somewhat libertine, all whiskey and horse races, and is now considered the more conservative and spiritual region.
 
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Nov 2016
401
Munich
#26
The term "puritan" has no precise meaning since it has been applied to rather different groups which had only two things in common: 1) an over-average religious zeal and 2) criticism of the Anglican Church concerning the inclination of most bishops to material wealth and worldly pleasures, what equalled the Anglicans, in view of the "Puritans", to the Catholics. However there were no significant theological differences to the Anglicans.

The first "puritan" movement came up as an reaction to the so-called Elizabethan Settlement in the 1560s. They called for a cleaning of the Anglican Church from Catholicism-like idolatric practises, and a reformation in the manner of Calvinism. Some important advisers of the Queen were close to Puritanism while the Anglican bishops tried to suppress the movement. Thus two parties developed and divided England, causing Elizabeth to seek a compromise. The term "puritan" was coined in the 1560s by the opponents of the new movement and meant "over-zealous" and "fanatic".
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,422
#27
I define "liberal" as wanting greater personal freedom in the social sphere (abortion, the right to marry, drug decriminalization, et cetera) while wanting a large government hand in the economy in order to redistribute wealth to those people who are less fortunate.


So, how did New England evolve from a region ruled by Christian ayatollahs to being the U.S.'s most liberal (and probably tolerant as well) region?
Some aspects of popular political opinions in New England were influenced by religious beliefs. Support for abolitionism for instance was not at odds with religious belief in the northern states for instance, as speeches denouncing slavery were also made from the pulpit. Both opponents and supporters of slavery turned to the bible for justification for their views and each side of the debate had preachers in their camp. The divide over slavery - just as everywhere else in the country - was regional.

The religious aspect to abolitionist sentiment in the mid 19th century can be read in the lyrics to the Battle of Hymn of the Republic, which were penned by Julia Ward Howe. Although born in New York, her father had been from Rhode Island and was a strict calvinist.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, Glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal";
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Since God is marching on.
 
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betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,623
#28
Another thing to consider is that many Congregationalists became Unitarians in the early 19th century. Unitarians take puritanism one step further in a way, as they don't believe in the trinity. However, it also close to Deism, and away from traditional Christianity alltogether. The New England transcendentalist writers and philosophers were influenced by Puritinism but at the same time not highly Christian.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#29
There were non-Puritan English immigrants during the 18th century also. Influence from the new immigrants and possibly the Native Americans changed the later generations of Puritans.
Which parts of England did most 18th century immigrants to New England come from?