How Did Religion Influence Early U. S. History
A value of knowing the origin of nations helps to understand their social orders and laws. America is the only nation in which the starting point of a great person has been vividly observed. This is so because the growth of nations bears some marks of their origin. The situations that followed their birth and contributed to their development affect the nation. On evaluating the elements of state and the oldest monuments of American history, one can discover the prejudices, the habits and the ruling, which constitute the national character. This explains particular customs, which now seem at variance with the prevailing manners such as a law that conflict with established principles among others. This might explain the destinies of Americans, which seem to revolve against unknown forces. Therefore, America is the only nation in which it has been probable to witness the natural and restful growth of society. Similarly, the influence experienced in the early America by their religion is vividly distinguishable.
The emigrants who arrived at a diverse era occupied the territory which is now under the American union who differ from each other significantly. This is so because their aim was not the same and they governed themselves on diverse principles. These men had certain features in common and were placed in an analogous situation. The tie of language is the most powerful and durable that united humankind in early America. Therefore, all emigrants spoke the same language because they originated from same ancestral. They were born in a nation, which had experienced difficulties for centuries due to struggle of freedom, which made most to be familiar with the concept of right and the principles of true freedom than their European generation. Hence, their religious quarrels, which have agitated the Christian world, were then rife.
French, the Spaniards and the Europeans who consecutively established themselves in the new world influenced the history of early Americans. This is so because all these European colonies contained the elements of the complete democracy. For instance, emigrants had no notion of superiority over another when they left the mother country. Similarly, happiness and power do not go into exile, so there is no guarantee of equality among men than poverty and misfortune. This influenced the Americans history because a notion may present vast fortunes and extreme wretchedness, but they should be territorial to realize true aristocracy, which means class of the rich and that of the poor.
All the British colonies resembled each other remarkably at the time of origin. They all seemed destined to witness the growth not based on class liberty of their motherland, but shown freedom of middle and lower orders, which influenced the history of Americans. This brought the class issue in was the north and south, which is due to the great Anglo-American family. For instance, the settlers who settled on the shores of New England came from the independent classes of their native country. Therefore, their union in the America presented the singular phenomenon of the society containing neither rich nor poor.
The colony was barely established when slavery was emerging, and became the capital fact which aimed at exercising a huge influence on the personality, the laws and the whole future of the South. Slavery introduced idleness, ignorance and pride, which were manifested in the South. The influence of slavery united the English character, but enervated the power and social condition of the southern states. Meanwhile, the English colonies have always enjoyed internal freedom and political independence than the colonies of other countries.
The principle of liberty was mainly applied in the New England states, which enabled them to exercise the rights of sovereignty, such as declaring war, making police regulations and enacting laws as if their duty was only God. The general principles, which were the groundwork of modern constitutions in the 17th century, were imperfectly known in Europe and not fully in Great Britain. It was established and recognized by the laws of New England, which include intervention in the public affairs, the free voting of taxes, personal liberty and trial by jury among others were established without discussion. Therefore, this formed the basis of American religion, the foundation for knowledge, and the ceremony of the divine laws, which led the Americans to civil freedom.
Likewise, liberty demonstrated in the colonial period is the basis of the federalism in the American. This is so because Americans were given liberty do different between evil and good because liberty is inconsistent and incompatible with authority. However, keeping and exercising the liberty under federal made Americans to grow more evil than even the beasts as depicted in the violence in south against blacks during civil war (Colbert 1). The liberty under the civil may be referred to as moral as demonstrated in the covenant between God and man under the moral law (Tocqueville 24). This liberty gave rise to effective and object authority which influenced the honesty and justice in the America. Therefore, Americans were able to incorporate the spirit of liberty and religion in their history, which gave rise to justice among the people.
The economic culture of puritan also influenced the history Americans. This is so because the women and men of puritan New England established a commonwealth, which embraced the skills, social and initiatives of humans. This influenced the American history by linking capitalism with redemptive community. They created a stable and successful society due to their civic ecology, protestant work ethic and a sense of communal unity in the 17th century. This society provided Americans levels of success, educational achievement, material culture and family stability not seen in the British America. They managed to influence the history of American because they settled mainly for religious purposes and search for natural resources. For instance, Massachusetts Bay Colony formed a successful, diversified and family based economy within a generation of its founding.
The early settlers of Massachusetts Bay managed to turn the American land into a flourishing colony by forming a complex of social institutions based on the feral covenant. The civil society was the source of a good relationship positioned between the patriarchal households and state. Hence, the sources of Massachusetts Bay’s prosperity were attributed to the colony’s distinctive civic ecology in which church, family, town and commonwealth were brought together by a series of federal covenant. The bay colonist created a market economy and formed a moral, cultural system and religion society to control its activities. They ensured the society was checked and balanced based on the moral values of the people. For instance, preachers such as Thomas Shepard did not tire of reminding the saints that self-interest was the value, which would overwhelm the society. In establishing a culture of development, which improved the society’s image, the Massachusetts settlers changed the powerful engine of economic and human development in the history of Americans.
Similarly, the settlers in the Bay managed to create a moral capitalism, which advocated the duality of human existence. This was achieved by conceiving the godliness as a mutual help, which promoted a social capital network in America. Although the settlers focused on improving the American economy, they were liberal which was seen as most unworldly motives.
The Puritans who settled on unproductive land because its environment was more productive to family farms than vast plantations. On the other hand, the New England rough land wand adverse winters would not attract either sluggards or gold hunters. This created a great attraction for several Puritan divines this made Hohn White to state that if men desire to have a person corrupt their soul and bodies, let them seek a rich soil that brings much with little labor ( Miller 4). However, New England was not such land because it was marked by massive poverty and misery.
Therefore, the Massachusetts settlers became the most commercial people in the world in to have influenced the history of Americans. This is so because their colony was based on powerful families and town organizations as well as creation of a religious culture of discipline. This enhanced the working capabilities and good behavior as well as a communal responsibility because it discouraged leisure. The development of capitalism in the early modern era needed an ethic of disciplined work and self-denial in order to maximize production and meet the needs of the economically vulnerable. This required the harmony of both the rich and poor because it embraced the ideology of social solidarity and trust among different classes.
The protestant in the Bay colony influenced American history because they were extremely devoted to business, accumulation of an estate and acquisition of houses that was the responsibility of Christians. Their responsibility was to improve the talent of people, which caused inescapable injunction to use an individual’s estate in order to enlarge the states (Winthrop 7).
Therefore, puritan social ethics posed a threat to Puritan divinity as they advocated one’s service to God via service to the community in the realm of work, especially in the 17th century. Meanwhile, work in New England in this period was both an economic function and a spiritual expression. This is so because it was based on the Pauline injunction in Corinthians, which state every man’s work shall be made manifest (Innes 7). This meant that work for the saint was supposed to be individualistic and communal work. Hence, this created a reformation of the highest aspirations because what was achieved in New England was not in North America. The Protestantism also demanded changes in American calendar where potential days of work were emulated.
In a recap, such effort of early settlers, colonist and federalism yield a realm of commercial expansion in the history of Americans. Meanwhile, the religion influenced the moral value in America by establishing a civil authority, which has been just and honest. It also influenced the political principles and human institutions in the America. Therefore, religion played a significant role in influencing the early U. S. history.
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Colbert, Stephen. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2012. Print.
Federalism and Conservatism. ” Ronald Reagan – We Will Be A City Upon A Hill.” Reagan 2020. N. p., 25 Jan. 1974. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
Innes, Stephen. Creating the Commonwealth: The Economic Culture of Puritan New England. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995. Print.
Miller, Perry. Errand into the Wilderness. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1956. Print.
Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America. New York: Library of America, 1839. Print.
Winthrop, John. ” A Model of Christian Charity.” The Religious Freedom Page. N. p., 1630. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.