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4 - The Puritans

The Bi-Dimensional Covenant

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2021

Alin Fumurescu
Affiliation:
University of Houston
Anna Marisa Schön
Affiliation:
University of Houston
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Summary

Chapter 4 discusses the political theology of the American Puritans and their influential legacy of the bi-dimensional covenant. Arriving on the shores of the New World in the 1620s and 1630s, the Puritans set about the ambitious project of creating perfect theologico-political communities. In particular, the Puritan settlements combined republican and liberal perspectives: On the one hand, the church covenant resembled in its horizontality the social contract theory, by creating a religious community with an accepted government from the free accord of its individual members. On the other hand, the vertical covenant of each church with God was modeled after the classical political contract between the people and its rulers. Thus, both the liberal apprehension of the people as a collection of equal individuals and the republican understanding of the people as of corporate whole were implemented in the colonies of New England. The chapter includes samples of the Puritan compacts, excerpts from the Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England, and selections from the writings of John Winthrop, John Cotton, Roger Williams, Nathaniel Ward, John Wise, and others.

Type
Chapter
Information
Foundations of American Political Thought
Readings and Commentary
, pp. 91 - 133
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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References

Suggested Readings

Perkins, William, The Works of That Famous and Worthie Minister of Christ, in the Universitie of Cambridge, M.W. Perkins, 3 vols. (London: I. Legatt, 1603).Google Scholar
Hutchinson, Anne, “The Examination of Mrs. Anne Hutchinson at the Court at Newton (1637)” in Hall, D. D. (ed.), The Antinomian Controversy, 1636–1638: A Documentary History (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1990), pp. 311–48.Google Scholar
Cotton, John, The Pouring Out of the Seven Vials (London, 1642).Google Scholar
Oakes, Urian, New-England Pleaded with … (Cambridge: Printed by Samuel Green, 1673).Google Scholar
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, The Scarlet Letter (London: David Bogue, 1851).Google Scholar

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  • The Puritans
  • Alin Fumurescu, University of Houston, Anna Marisa Schön, University of Houston
  • Book: Foundations of American Political Thought
  • Online publication: 09 July 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108774154.005
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  • The Puritans
  • Alin Fumurescu, University of Houston, Anna Marisa Schön, University of Houston
  • Book: Foundations of American Political Thought
  • Online publication: 09 July 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108774154.005
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The Puritans
  • Alin Fumurescu, University of Houston, Anna Marisa Schön, University of Houston
  • Book: Foundations of American Political Thought
  • Online publication: 09 July 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108774154.005
Available formats
×