\pjˈʊɹɪtənz], \pjˈʊɹɪtənz], \p_j_ˈʊ_ɹ_ɪ_t_ə_n_z]\
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The name Puritans was first used in England to designate those Protestant members of the Church of England who, while not desiring to separate from or to destroy the existing establishment, desired to see it infused with a spirit of greater earnestness and purged of many still-remaining Catholic ceremonies. The settlers of Massachusetts Bay came from this set, which is not to be confounded with the Separatists or Independents, from whom the Pilgrim Fathers came. The Separatists were the extreme wing of the Puritan party, we may say, so extreme that they preferred to abandon the Established Church, and would gladly have seen it abolished. As the contest in England went on, and deepened into civil war, the Puritans mostly became either Presbyterians or Independents. Similarly in America circumstances made of the settlers at the Bay a body of Independents whose ecclesiastical polity did not differ from that of the Plymouth Pilgrims. The Puritan spirit was one of severe moral earnestness, united with a Calvinistic theology. Their opposition to amusements grew more and more severe, and the persecuting spirit prevailed among them. Toward the end of the century, Puritanism in Massachusetts began to relax. In New Haven it was more rigid than in Massachusetts; in Connecticut somewhat less so. Rhode Island was partly Puritan in sentiment (using Puritan in the general, or English sense), but never under control of the Puritans. In the other colonies there were some Puritan settlements, as at Newark in New Jersey, at Providence (Annapolis) in Maryland, and at Dorchester in South Carolina.
By John Franklin Jameson