American Puritanism

American Puritanism

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Question 1 (1 page)

In Journal 1, we identified 4 big questions to consider over the course of the semester:

Who is God? (Is there someone or something bigger than humanity?)
What is my purpose as a human being?
What’s my relationship to the community?
How do I decide what’s right and wrong?

Write an essay of several paragraphs in which you explore Question 3, the relationship of the individual to the community, in 3 or 4 works we have encountered so far;

you must include Alger, one Enlightenment author, and one Puritan author. Your essay must move beyond simple statements of fact (Alger says the individual’s role in

the community is A, Winthrop says it is B, and Paine says it is C) to make an argument and draw conclusions. Thus, your essay must present a thesis, a debatable

statement that other readers might reasonably see differently. You might look for changes over time, a common perspective that is shared across the these works and

time periods, or take some other approach. Whatever that is, it must result in an argument. Note that a thesis is not a statement of fact or of the obvious.

Short Answer #2: God and Nature

Using Anne Bradstreet’s “Contemplations” and the excerpt from Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason, compare and contrast Puritan and Enlightenment views of how Nature

reveals God to humans; this short essay should be several paragraphs and show how views change from Puritanism to the Enlightenment.

Short Answer 3: Freedom of Conscience

Using Roger Williams’ “A Letter to the Town of Providence” and the excerpt from Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason, compare and contrast their views on freedom of

conscience. Williams addresses the issue in terms of the community, using the image of a ship, while Paine makes it personal, using the language of faithfulness and

chastity. This short essay should be several paragraphs and should show how these authors are similar as well as how they differ in the way that they discuss the

issue. Minimum 3 paragraphs.

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