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2 - The Uncompromising Puritans

“If the whole conclave of Hell can so compromise …”

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 August 2019

Alin Fumurescu
Affiliation:
University of Houston
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Summary

Each group of Puritans and Pilgrims arriving on the shores of the New World actually created new theologico-political “peoples” through the express consent of individuals to found both a church and a political community. They were covenanted people, and covenantal theory permeated their entire Weltanschauung despite, or precisely because of, its sophistication.Two covenants proved to be long-lasting: the horizontal church covenant, among the members to form a church and a political community, and the vertical covenant between each church and God, that was politically reflected in the covenant of the newly created people with their elected leaders. The American Puritans, unlike their English counterparts, distrusted forum externum, for, like the French, they suspected it of being tainted with hypocrisy. Nor did they trust forum internum, as the French did, for, as the English, they believed it was deceitful, easy prey to devil’s tricks. As a result, they rejected both the British centrifugal individualism and the French centripetal form of individualism, embracing one of their own, which I labeled, for lack of a better word, “purged individualism.”

Type
Chapter
Information
Compromise and the American Founding
The Quest for the People's Two Bodies
, pp. 27 - 65
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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