Religion in Colonial America Essay

The Colonial period was an abundant period of American history in its source of respectful and influential people who helped to shape modern society through questioning the past beliefs.  As a result, many people came to America with the purpose of searching for religious freedom. Their major hopes and wishes were to escape the religious persecution, which they were forced to face. In addition, they had the opportunity to choose religion that wished to be part of. Hence, the settlers came here with a load of European cultural and artistic traditions and began to implement them in real life. Consequently, the earliest writings that emerged during the colonial period were religious tracts and historical essays.

Thus, this paper presents the information on the role of religion in colonial American literature and discusses the works of colonial authors to analyze how their religious views shape their literary works, their styles, and their interpretation of historical and political events.

To start with, for the Puritans of the Colonial Period, various creations were actually connected to their religious beliefs. The Puritans sailed to America in order to build their lives on biblical laws. Severe Calvinists, they believed in the indisputable authority of God, predestination, original sin and the doctrine of the elect person, according to which the person is not the case, but only a handful of the grace of God saves the elect from eternal damnation. Puritans borrowed from the Bible, not only laws, but also literary style:  simple, austere and impersonal.

For example, Anne Bradstreet, a well-known colonial writer, began American poetry by utilizing her Puritan belief that the wife actually needs to be subservient to her own husband. Also, it is possible to mention about her internal conflict such as a loss that in fact should not matter in accordance with her Puritan faith against her worries about the loss of her native town, her homeland.

Another well-known writer that needs to be mentioned is Edward Taylor. He is a great author, and ‘like Anne Bradstreet—a volume of whose work he owned—Taylor wrote his poetry to glorify God. He found his subjects in human life, nature, and everyday activities. His poems on these topics served as a form of worship’ (‘The Puritan Tradition’, n.d., p. 114). What is more, it is possible to add about the first governor of the Bay Colony John Winthrop (1588-1649). In his diary ‘The History of New England’ known as the most well-known and fundamental sources for the history of Massachusetts (Winthrop, 1825), he described the ideals, religious disputes and hardships of the colonists. In 1645, Winthrop formulated the fundamental political doctrine of Puritanism, which opposes civil and natural freedom. As a result, civil liberties, based on the covenant between God and man, require submission to authority.

Thus, taking the above-mentioned information into consideration, it is possible to draw a conclusion that the Colonial period was one of the most abundant periods in American history due to its source of respectful and influential individuals who had the possibility to shape modern society with the help of questioning the past beliefs. Many influential individuals came to America in order to search for religious freedom and become free. Here they implemented their religious views in order to shape their literary works, their styles, and their interpretation of historical and political events.

 

References:

Bloom, H. (1992). The American Religion. Simon & Schuster.

The Puritan Tradition. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://mrsdsenglishclass.weebly.com/uploads/1/3/5/0/13500591/anne_bradstreet.pdf

Winthrop, J. (1825). The History of New England from 1630 to 1649. Boston: Phelps and Farnham.

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 1, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 1, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 1, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 1, 2020]