The Legacy of Puritanism | National Humanities Center

TeacherServe Essays

The Legacy of Puritanism

Author: Elliott, Emory (NHC Fellow, 1979–80)

The purpose of this essay is to trace the effects of seventeenth-century New England Puritanism upon the development of the United States of America. So powerful and enduring are these Puritan influences in American culture that they have become part of American identity. As the Puritan Founders understood, the meaning of America is a promise always remaining to be fulfilled, and whether it was the promise of religious freedom or of economic opportunity, it was a dream that made the dangers of the Atlantic and an unknown wilderness worth risking.

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History / Education Studies / American History / Christianity / Puritans / Thirteen Colonies / American Enlightenment / Calvinism /