When the Mayflower landed in 1620 and those Englishmen in exile stepped onto North American soil for the first time, they were not the only human beings on the continent. Far from it. Other European explorers were roaming around. Native tribes populated vast civilizations from sea to sea. Even other English settlers were living in thriving colonies to the south.
So why do we make such a big deal out of the puritans? The answer is because their impact on what would become American culture was enormous. Yes, those other humans also affected American culture, but the puritan influence is more profound, obvious, pervasive, and long-lasting.
Where do you see puritan influence in your environment? Do you relate to them at all, or do they seem more like a completely different species?
Other puritan-related materials on this site include "Psalm 100," which is on the jukebox on the Main Page. (Try not to rock out too hard on that one!) Two videos related to this unit include Ronald Reagan's Farewell Speech
and a video interpretation of the Anne Bradstreet poem
we cover in class.
If you have questions or comments about the puritans or any of the materials we use to study them, feel free to post them here.