Whysome of the Puritan beliefs led to tension, conflicts, and concernsamong colonists and the Native Americans.
Themain objective for puritans was to reform all aspects of human lifeby focusing on moral, religious, and societal reforms. The termpuritan is used to refer to a group of believers who formed amovement within the Church of England between the time of Elizabethand Charles 1 and established what is presently known as Puritanethics (Morgan 3). The general perception that Puritans wereProtestants and their need was to overthrow the leadership of theChurch of England resulted in resistant in from the incumbentleadership and laws were formulated to restrict the growth of anemerging group of Protestants. However, their beliefs were spread toother parts of the world through emigration, exiles, and evangelism.It is evident that three of the beliefs (including the belief indiversity, demonology, and millennialism) held by Puritans were themajor causes of conflict and tension among the colonists and theNative Americans.
Beliefin diversity and a threat to the Native Americans and colonists
Althoughthe main focus of the Puritans was to emphasize on total purity andthe relationship between man and God, they also believed thatdiversity on earth was a key element that could help them serve Godbetter. To this end, the Puritans believed that diversity amongpeople created a variety of means through which God could be honored(Wood 1). This belief was based on the notion that wealth reflectsthe glory of God, especially when used to support the religious stateand one’s family. In addition, the Puritans believed that thepractice of giving freely to the people in need was one way ofmanifesting love and enhancing unity in the society. However, theconcept of accumulating wealth (such as land) was a threat to theNative Americans and colonist. This was a major source of conflictbetween the puritans who immigrated to America and the NativeAmericans as well as the colonists who feared losing their land topuritan immigrants. Buying and selling land was part of the Puritansbelief in diversity, but this was a new practice among the NativeAmericans.
TheNative Americans, on the other hand, believed that land that is usedby people to walk on could not be sold (Cultural Crash 1). ThePuritans supported education for children with the objective ofhelping them read the Bible on their own and for education to servepart of the diversity of Puritans. However, the system of educationthat the Puritans believed would successfully transform the societydiffered from what the colonists and the mother country offered. Thiswas another aspect of diversity that gave rise to conflicts.
Existenceof demonic forces and culture of the Native Americans
Similarto the majority of other Christian groups, the Puritans believed inthe existence of demonic forces and emphasized on the importance ofteaching their follows about supernatural powers. For puritans,sinning was perceived as an implicit or a forged covenant with Satan(Levack 104). This was interested as a spiritual renunciation of thecreators and the almighty God. Witchcraft, which was part of theculture of the time, was the common type of sin condemned bypuritans. The solemn witch trial was a demonstration of the effortsof the Puritan pastors to distinguish the Puritan beliefs fromconformist beliefs. These strong beliefs about Satanism andassociations of some cultural practices of the Native Americans withdemonic forces were among the major sources of conflict. In addition,the use of Christian faith to determine what could be consideredethical and moral in the society created another hurdle between thePuritans and the native communities. The Puritans placed their faithabove all other things and believed that their actions had less valuecompared to their faith (Cultural Crash 1). The Native Americans, onthe other hand, believed that their actions were important tools oftheir faith. For example, rituals (such as dancing and preparation offood) gave adoration to the spirits of the Native Americans, whichwas inconsistent with the beliefs of the Puritans.
ThePuritan millennialism is widely perceived to be part of reformedEuropean beliefs about the Biblical prophecy and the millennium. ThePuritan Millennialism is an idea that the history of human beings isdivinely ordained and results in a period of divine perfection onearth (Howard173).This convectional theory was strongly supported by the Whigs wholater formed the Hamiltonian Federalism Party. Puritans believed inthe concept of the New Jerusalem, which was America in that case.They believed that God intended to establish a righteous kingdom thatwould be ruled by religious leaders. This was based on the notionthat God’s blessing would endure as long as the nation was led byrighteous rulers. This belief seemed to threaten the incumbentcolonial rulers and the Native Americans who thought that thePuritans would at one point in time assume the leadership of Americaand impose the Puritan beliefs.
Aperception that epidemics are forms of punishment
ThePuritans believed that calamities and epidemics were types ofpunishment that God used against those he wronged Him. For example,the Puritans interpreted the epidemic of 1616 that wiped out a thirdof the Indian population as God’s punishment for their disobedience(University of Maine 1). The Puritans also perceived a subsequentsmall pox epidemic that reduced the Indian population further as aGod’s way of them an easy way to acquire more land in the promisedland of America. The Puritans sieved the property and land owned bythe Indian survivors and mounted missions to convert them into theirdevoted beliefs of the Almighty God. The perception held by Puritansthat sin had made Indians an inferior race and an attempt to acquirewealth through violence created enmity between the Puritans and theNative Americans. This paved way for a series of conflicts and wars,including the Pequot war and Metacom’s War.
Thedevoted and extreme beliefs held by the Puritans were the majorcauses of their conflict with the Native Americans and the colonistsof the New England. Although belief in diversity was common amongcommunities in living in the New England, the manner in which thePuritans used to acquire wealth differed and raised conflicts betweenthem and the Native Americans. In addition, their extreme belief inthe existence of demonic forces and associating the culturalpractices of the Native Americans with Satanism reduced chances for apeaceful coexistence between the Puritans and the Native Americans.The colonists and the mother country provided education, but thePuritans had their own approach to education that they believed wouldresult in a successful transformation of the society. In essence, theconflict between the Native Americans and the Puritans resulted fromthe way Puritans perceived issues pertaining to the general life andreligion.
CultureCrash. The Puritans and the Native Americans. CultureCrash.2014. Web. July 31 2014.
Howard,H. ParadisePostponed: Johann Heinrich Alsted and the Birth of CalvinistMillenarianism. Berlin:Springer Science & Business Media, 2001.Print.
Levack,P. Demonology,religion, and witchcraft.London: Taylor and Francis, 2001. Print.
Morgan,S. ThePuritan ethic and the American Revolution.New Haven: Yale University, 2001. Print.
Universityof Maine. Indiansand Puritans.Orono, ME: University of Maine, 2002. Web.
Wood,A. of John Winthrop’s model of Christian charity.Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2000. Web.