Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

History

First Advisor

Daniel C. Littlefield

Abstract

This dissertation dismisses the New England dominance of colonial puritan historiography to argue that an interconnected community of Atlantic puritans pursued an alternate path to their faith apart from the Massachusetts Bay experiment. While a number of Atlantic puritans emerged from the nucleus of the Ancient Church and others eventually joined those original networks, ultimately membership within the puritan Atlantic involved the embrace of a particular attitude about faith, commerce, and political involvement. Atlantic puritans were concerned with the spiritual fate of Europeans and Native Americans scattered throughout the Caribbean and along the Atlantic coastline of North America as central to both England’s political hedge against Catholic colonization and the hope for Christ’s millennial return. This eschatological perspective served as the foundation of these puritans’ Atlantic focus. Having imbued the Atlantic world with apocalyptic significance Atlantic puritans centered their commercial and political interests there as well. As a result individuals like Richard Bennett, Daniel Gookin, Nathaniell and Constant Sylvester, and the Bland Brothers exemplified the puritan Atlantic through their fusion of faith and commerce allowing providence to guide their way.

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History Commons

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