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17A Paper - Jon Coleman Monday 3-3:50 17A Paper#1 When...

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Jon Coleman Monday 3-3:50 17A Paper #1 When trying to understand the colonial societies of 17 th Century North America one must be familiar with the religious systems and traditions of the day. In many cases, religion was the main motivation for the colonists and travelers who came to the New World. The two main European powers with legitimate holds on North America at this time included the predominantly Catholic French, and the mostly Protestant English. Out of these two different and distinct societies came two legends of history: John Winthrop and Catherine Tekakwitha. In studying these two religious figures, and more importantly the conflicts they faced, one can catch a glimpse into the hearts of minds of their respective societies. In the case of the Puritan leader John Winthrop, his Puritan zeal was moderated by his mild-temperedness and manner in achieving purity. Winthrop is a good representation of the Massachusetts Bay Colony because the inner conflicts he faced were the same conflicts being hammered out in debate among the community. Here was a man who struggled to live a life of righteousness, yet never tried to fool himself into believing it was wholly possible. “Puritanism required that man refrain from sin but told him he would sin anyhow”(Morgan pg.5). This ideology is often referred to as the doctrine of sin, the belief that the original sin of Adam condemned all mankind and that only through Christ can man achieve salvation. Thus describes just one “puritan dilemma”, the task of striving for perfection though realistically it cannot be achieved.
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