First Founders: American Puritans and Puritanism in an Atlantic World (New England in the World)

First Founders: American Puritans and Puritanism in an Atlantic World (New England in the World)

Francis J. Bremer

Language: English

Pages: 296

ISBN: 1584659599

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Francis J. Bremer has spent his entire career broadening our understanding of America’s colonial founders. Now, in this eminently readable collection of biographies, Bremer brings us a surprisingly varied and dynamic group of characters who continue to guide and influence America today. With its cast of magistrates, women, clergy, merchants, and Native Americans, First Founders underscores the breadth of early American experience and the profound transatlantic roots of our country’s forebears. Bremer succeeds in bringing little-known figures out of the shadows, while allowing us to appreciate better known figures in an entirely new light.

This is a truly fascinating look at the Puritans with keenly drawn portraits and the insight that only a lifetime of scholarship can achieve. It should become the standard introduction to the field. Written in the mold of Joseph Ellis’s Founding Brothers and Gordon Wood’s Revolutionary Characters, the book will appeal to general readers, students, and scholars alike.





















sustaining the faith of the congregation during the first months of the settlement, months during which many sickened and died. Edward Johnson, a contemporary who knew and revered Wilson, spoke of him as having a weak constitution, but as being tireless in nurturing the sick and keeping up the spirits of the survivors. Tradition tells of a sermon he preached on one occasion in which he took as his text Genesis 35:19, the death of Rachel when she and Jacob were journeying to Canaan in accord with

in the hope of diminishing the turnout from Boston radicals. On May 17, 1637, men from all over the colony gathered on the Newtown common. The gathering threatened to degenerate into a riot as freemen from the opposing sides exchanged sharp words and blows and the election was endangered. Recognizing this, John Wilson climbed into the lower branches of a large oak growing in the field and harangued the assembly. He reminded them of the great enterprise they had embarked on by coming to New

kingdom would be was never completely spelled out. It was always an ideal just beyond their reach as they journeyed on a pilgrimage toward an unattainable perfection. They were attempting to build a better society, the best that human effort could achieve. The starting point for making the Earth truly God’s kingdom began with the individual’s struggle to subject him- or herself to the divine will, a struggle that could not succeed without the blessings of God’s grace. Having transformed oneself

anyway, since the town’s “two places of their public assembling to worship God cannot entertain” all the residents of the town. The First Church majority rejected this advice and discussed censuring the minority for its obstruction and criticisms of the majority. The dispute escalated following Davenport’s ordination in Septem- John Davenport 165 ber 1668. The minority claimed that the August 1668 council’s advice should be authoritative. At their request another council met in Boston on

Queen Elizabeth, when privateers such as John Hawkins and Francis Drake had raided and plundered Spanish settlements in the region. Such raids remained a source of wealth during Samuel Winthrop’s lifetime, with Henry Morgan being the most famous of the pirates who were often encouraged by English authorities. Ordinary settlers in the early English colonies such as Barbados sought to make their fortunes through tobacco cultivation. During the mid-century the Caribbean was beginning to play a

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