Puritans, New England, Racisim, American Racism


Many Americans have long credited the Puritans with having laid much of the foundation for what would eventually be generalized as the American character and identity. The nation, they contend, is a product of these hard-working and God-fearing zealots. Others have marveled at this "favoritism" towards the Puritans. After all, other groups arrived earlier than the Puritans and arguably had a larger impact. This controversy has led to many studies of the Puritans. Some have focused on Puritan strengths: their work ethic, moral standards and altruistic character. Like all peoples, however, the Puritans also had their shortcomings. Witchcraft trials, half-way covenants and the eventual dilution of puritan religious dominance have often been the focus of attentive students of American history. Amidst the studied failings of Puritan society, many historians have often overlooked one of the major developments of Puritan society. Though given much less attention, the emergence of a racial prejudice towards the Indians in New England played a significant role in laying the foundation of the American identity.