Puritan HeaderAccording to Levine, “The founding of Plymouth Plantation, in 1620, marks a new phase in the literary history of colonial North America” (13). The first colony settled in North America and faced adversity from the beginning. They landed during a harsh winter, and faced deathly conditions, and had it not been for gracious native peoples, the settlers would have certainly perished. The motivation for coming to the new world was religious based, out of all the pilgrims on the ship, three fourths were Separatist Puritans, aiming to escape the church in England and other parts of Europe.
They sought to attempt to reform the church in their vision in the new world. This is where we are first introduced to the Puritan Era of literature in America (13). The most influential Puritan colony was the settlement at Massachusetts, founded by Puritans in 1630, under the leadership of John Winthrop. (13). Throughout the Puritan era, the focus was all about reforming the church according to God’s divine plan. This idea of God’s plan is reoccurring through the history and literature of the early American settlers. As we have discussed in class, the Puritan people believed that God chooses a “select few” people that will go up to live with him in eternal glory in heaven.
That all people should live their lives with one another in harmony according to God’s will. These ideals are reflected heavily throughout the writings of the period. According to Levine, “In their respective histories of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, Bradford and Winthrop wished to record the actualization of the founding dream, which was first and foremost a dream of a more purified community of mutually supporting Protestant Christians” (15), or Winthrop’s “City upon a Hill”.
Within our Puritan section, we will explore many of the writers and influential figures of the Puritan Era, providing a brief background, history of works, and other important information about why they fit into the Puritan Era.Works CitedLevine, Robert S, editor. “American Literature Beginnings to 1820.
” The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 9th ed., A, W. W. Norton & Company, 2017, pp. 13-15.