?“The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop” This book talks about the life of one of the most influential puritans John Winthrop. “The Puritan Dilemma was written by Edmund Morgan. Edmund Morgan was a History professor at Yale University from 1955 to 1986. Edmund Morgan wrote many other popular books such as “Birth of a republic, American slavery, American Freedom” and “Inventing The people, the rise of popular sovereignty in England. ” This puritan dilemma was written for the intent of future history students reading and learning about John Winthrop and his influence on modern culture and religion.
The Author clearly states the thesis in the beginning on the book, He talks about the “Puritan Dilemma” it is about the puritans and their struggle to keep up with their religion and the moral obligations that comes along with being a puritan, while dealing with the temptations of daily life, and staying in line with the religious laws in England.
Winthrop talks about liking to hunt but not finding practicality in hunting. The Puritans set out not to separate from the Church of England, but only to purify it.
In the book the author uses a lot of quotations and transcripts from letters and journals written by John Winthrop. Though not all were completely clear it gave a good picture of how John Winthrop deal with things. The length of the book does a good job of helping the reader understand the importance that John Winthrop had on our young nation. The Author had as strong agenda in writing the “Puritan Dilemma” he wants his readers to see that John Winthrop was a very smart and deeply religious man and he used a mixture of the qualities to successfully set up and run government in the colonies.
Winthrop was born in Suffolk, England, his father was a lawyer and owned a textile business and several properties in Suffolk. John Winthrop was deeply involved in religion from a very young age, he would often sit and listen to his father talk about religion with his friends. As a puritan John talked about dealing with all the temptations the world had to offer while staying true to his religion and not straying from god by partaking in these temptations. John Winthrop got married to a women named Mary Forth around the age of seventeen. He talks about getting married at a young age and how it affected his religion.
The marriage was set up by Winthrop’s father and Mary’s father, they agreed they would marry in exchange for large amounts of land, this was common practice at the time. Mary and John had five children together only three of them survived to adult hood. Mary died in 1615 from complications during the birth of their last child. Winthrop was the Lord of the Manor at Groton, he dedicated all of his time managing the manor. Eventually John would follow in his father’s footsteps and become a lawyer. John Winthrop was devastated about the death of his first wife Mary, but he quickly remarried to a women named Thomasine Clopton.
Winthrop talks about her not being as deeply religious as himself. She also died. Winthrop married a third time to a women named Margaret Tyndal. They continued to live at Groton, but john was eventually offered a job in the courts in England. John went back and forth to England his wife and eldest son John took care of the Manor while he was away. It was in England that John started to notice the corruption of the English church. The leader of the time Charles the first had married a roman catholic. Around this time colonization in the new world was starting to heat up.
John considered it and talked it over with his wife and he eventually decided to go. John got involved with the Massachusetts Bay Company and eventually was elected governor. On April 8th 1630 John departed from England on the flagship Arbella. John’s wife stayed behind due to a pregnancy, she planned to come to the new world later on. Two months later the fleet arrived in Salem, Massachusetts. Many died during the first winter, John had found that Salem was not fit for a settlement for the company and set out and eventually settled on what is known today as Boston.
Winthrop played a big role in leading the settlement. Winthrop was elected the governor the first three times. Eventually John set up a form of government that was in the very early stages of democracy. They also played policemen, they would enforce the laws of god and hold court for people who violated the laws of god. John Clashed with many settlers that had come to the new world to totally separate from the Church of England. One of the biggest clashes was with a women named Anne Hutchinson. The clash would be known as the Antinomian controversy.
Hutchinson preached about separating from the Church of England and that religious laws were not required for salvations. Hutchinson was eventually put on trial and banished from the colony. Religious freedom has been something that people have been fighting for from the beginning of modern civilization. John Winthrop played a very important role during a time where people wanted religious freedom. This Book was very interesting in certain parts, it didn’t change my opinion at all. John Winthrop was a devout puritan and he did whatever it took the stay steadfast in his religion.