Puritans And Quakers Term Paper


Puritans and Quakers Comparative Analysis of the Beliefs and Attitudes between Puritans and Quakers in Colonial America (17th-18th centuries)

Early Colonial American society during the 17th and 18th centuries is characteristically bound by strong religious beliefs of Christianity. The New England inhabitants from Britain, who have established their respective colonies in the Americas, have brought with them their cultural histories; thus, this culture had been further developed in the new country to strengthen its new identity and culture as the American society.

In colonial America, two religions dominated its cultural history: Puritans on one hand, and the Quakers, on the other. Puritanism was borne from the creation of a religion that seeks to fuse and at the same time, reform, the Catholic and Protestant teachings and principles. When it was created, it was given a chance to further develop and eventually became one of the dominant religions of the British colonies in America. Puritanism is known for its conservatism and strict adherence to the teachings of the Bible; since the religion aims to make Christian life, Christians of this religion are regarded as "purists" and intolerant to any deviations or differences of people from the established religious norms.

The Quakers, meanwhile, are actually categorized under the broad category of Puritanism. However, as the Puritans and Quakers established their own colonies in America, the latter became an independent religious institution from Puritanism. Also called the Society of Friends, Quakers adopts a more pragmatic approach towards living the Christian life than the Puritans. For them, "God exists in everyone"; furthermore, Quakerism is considered a way of life where the primary objective is to bring out the "God" in all of us and eliminate the evil that lurks from within the heart of people, which hinders them to cultivate their...


This paper illuminates Puritan life through the writings and sermons of Sarah Knight and Jonathan Edwards, respectively; while Elizabeth Ashbridge and John Woolman sets the ideals of life according to the Quakers. A comparative analysis of the religious beliefs and attitudes of these two sets of religions is given at the end of the paper, which brings into lucidity the dynamics of religious culture of colonial American between the 17th and 18th centuries.
In the memoirs of Sarah Kemble Knight, evidence of rigid Puritan beliefs is apparent in her journal entitled, "The Journal of Madam Knight." In narrating her experience as a traveler from Boston to New York, she displays disapproval of a young lady's on what Knight considers as 'rude' and un-ladylike manners when relating to other people. She discloses, " ... I was interrogated by a young lady I understood afterwards was the eldest daughter of the family, with these, or words to this purpose, (viz.) Law for mee -- what in the world brings you here at this time a night?- -I never see a woman on the rode so dreadfull late, in all the days of my versall life. Who are you? Where are you going?...I stood aghast, prepareing to reply ... she then turned agen to mee and fell anew into her silly questions, without asking me to sitt down. I told her shee treated me very rudely, and I did not think it my duty to answer her unmannerly questions ... " This passage from her journal illustrates the character of Puritans, who consider any deviation from their religious norms of being conservative towards other people as intolerable.

The strict adherence to Puritan beliefs and…

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