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A Purpose Lost: Cultural Consequences of the English Civil War for Congregationalist New England, 1630 - 1649

DANDURAND, ELI,ALAIN (2015) A Purpose Lost: Cultural Consequences of the English Civil War for Congregationalist New England, 1630 - 1649. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Though rarely identified as such, the English Civil War was a transformative event in early New England history. Founded upon religious idealism, the New England colonies were particularly susceptible to the religious and political movements in England which influenced Puritan motives and emigration. Reliant on a steady flow of immigrants to sustain the young colonial economy, the Puritan community in New England found itself reliant on the continuation of religious dissatisfaction in England strong enough to drive emigrants to settle in the colonies. During the 1640s, the religious and political contest produced by the English Civil War completely overturned the status quo of England and enticed many Puritans to remain in England rather than seek religious satisfaction in the wilderness of America. Foreseen by John Winthrop and confirmed by the 1640s trend of ‘remigration’ out of New England, religious reforms in England reduced the colonies’ former appeal and forced a reevaluation of New England’s niche within the English world. This thesis examines the religious and political ramifications which war in England had on Puritan New England, not only demographically, but also culturally. Communication and intimate trans-atlantic connections, along with direct participation in the wars and debates of England, illustrate colonists’ continued dedication, as well as vulnerability, to the seemingly-distant events across the Atlantic. The religious and political resolutions following the wars of the 1640s are shown to have had deep impacts on New England by removing the religious incentive to remove to the colonies. New England religious ‘declension’, a concept heavily debated by historians, is examined in the context of Civil War outcomes across the Atlantic rather than in its traditional internal colonial context. The notion of declension itself is revealed to have arisen as a harbinger of 1640s cultural transformation in response to the war in England.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:New England; Civil War; Puritan; Atlantic; Declension; John Winthrop; John Cotton; Massachusetts; Congregationalism; America
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:20 May 2015 09:45

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