Puritans, Salem, and the New World: Beliefs and Conflicts

Classified in Philosophy and ethics

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What was life like for children among the Puritans?

What was expected of them and what kinds of things were they banned from doing? How were they disciplined for misbehavior?

They had to follow the same strict code as adults, such as doing chores, attending church services, and repressing individual differences. They weren’t allowed to show any form of emotion and stay ignorant. The punishment would be physical, such as whipping.

What factors contributed to the instability of life in Salem Village?

Salem is a community on the outskirts (in the wilderness), just hanging on. Woods could conceal Indians or the Devil himself. Their charter was revoked, rigid religious practices, belief in predestination, misogyny, gossip, land disputes, and resentment of being under the control of Salem Town.

What were the beliefs about, the cultural expectations for, and roles prescribed for women in Puritan religion and society?

Women were expected to be submissive, more likely than men to join the devil’s cause, innately lustful, wanted special knowledge, and were viewed with suspicion.

What kinds of things did the “victims” of witchcraft first begin to do that caused a doctor to say that their symptoms were “spiritual” and not physical?

Girls felt pricked with pins, tried to throw themselves into the fire, experienced trances, screaming, and couldn't listen to sermons. The doctor said the cause must be spiritual, a result of witchcraft.

What was Columbus’s first impression of the Taino people when he first came to know them?

Columbus thought the native islanders of Guanahan (he renamed it San Salvador) were generous, loving, artless, and good looking. He also was convinced these handsome, naked people would make excellent slaves.

Why did the Spanish colonize (take control of and enslave) rather than establish trade with the peoples they met in the New World like the Portuguese did with Africans?

Because their main goal was to be rich and take over everything.

Explain the difference between the terms Pilgrims and Puritans.

Puritans were a larger religious movement within the Church of England. Pilgrims were Puritans who were so extreme they felt they needed to separate themselves from the larger society in the UK by moving as far as they could.

What are some of the theories about what caused the mass hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials?

  • To take revenge on each other.
  • To gain fame since women weren’t really allowed to do anything.

How many of the 104 people who came to America on the Mayflower were Protestant Separatists–they called themselves “Saints (Puritans)?

Nearly 40 of these passengers were Protestant Separatists–they called themselves “Saints”–who hoped to establish a new church in the New World (Puritans).

Since Puritans were expected to live by a rigid moral code, they believed that all sins—from sleeping in church to stealing food:

Should be punished.

What did Powhattan think of the English settlers? What were his complaints about them?

To Powhatan, the English seemed harmless at first. If it were not for the good nature of Powhatan's people, the English settlers never would have survived their first few seasons in the New World. Powhatan thought that good relations with these new inhabitants might help forge a powerful alliance.

Thomas Putnam and his daughter Ann Putnam, Jr. accused and testified against how many people during the Salem Witch Trials?

Thomas Putnam: 43

Ann Putnam, Jr.: 62

Identify the three things that were the real obstacles that got in the way of Europeans accepting Indian people

The real obstacles that got in the way of European acceptance of Indian peoples were that they were not Christians and had no visible forms of worshiping God, made no effort to subdue the land and make it profitable, had no understanding of the importance of private property, and were not willing to give up their land and submit to English rule.

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