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Historical Essays Example

Puritan Documents Prompt

The Puritan immigrants arrived in New England during the 1960s. The settlement of the Puritans in the region led to the establishment of population centers such as Massachusetts Bay. Economic interest did not motivate the Puritan settlers (Doc A). They aimed to create a pure Christian society that was based on moral values. They also emphasized on family and community values. The interest of the Puritans was contrary to the Chesapeake region’s inhabitants who were interested in economic prosperity. The Puritans contributed significantly to the growth of the New England. The political, economic, and social development of the New England laid its emphasis on their religious values. The Puritans organized their society on theocracy. As such, the ideas and values held by the Puritans had a profound effect on the social, political and economic development of the New England colonies from the 1630s through the late 1960s.

The Puritans political contribution to the political development of New England cannot be underestimated. The political structure of the Puritans was based on a theocratic and authoritarian model. These models were used to ensure conformity to the moral values (Doc A). Upon settlement at the Massachusetts Bay in 1930, Puritan’s leader John Winthrop developed a mission that the colony was required to rely upon. The mission was to create a “city upon a hill” or “mode of Christian charity.”  The mission was created to illustrate an ideal society expected by the Puritans. The political development of New England was based on theocratic ideals. Morality superseded all other concerns in the society (Doc F). The New England adopted laws that adhered to the Puritan’s moral values. Those who went contrary to the God’s law were severely punished.  The moral code adopted by Puritans banned theater and public drunkenness.

The Puritan hierarchy did not allow individuals to have religious freedom. They believed that this would undermine the colony. For instance, Roger Williams was banished by the Puritan religious leaders by advocating for greater religious tolerance in the colony. The Puritan clergy dominated the political structure of the colony (Doc H). They wanted the state and the church to remain intact. This was in accordance with the argument of Nathaniel Ward who opposed tolerance of religious diversity. The strict adherence of the Puritans to religious conformity was the primary reason why they went to war with the Indians tribes in 1632. For instance, the Pequot war led to a bloody removal of Pequot tribe from the New England (Doc D). Such wars contributed significantly to the political development of the New England as a result of the ideas and values of the Puritans.

The Puritans believed that God worked in their favor. As a result, they worked hard to succeed and influence the economic development in New England. Most of the Puritans who settled in the New England were wealthy merchants. The merchants created a social class that was responsible for the economic structure. The merchants influenced fishing and timber plantation in the region. The merchants changed the economic structure in the area by developing Boston to become a prime commercial as well as a shipping center (Doc J). The merchants contributed significantly to the economic development of New England since they believed that they had God’s favor.

The Puritans contributed significantly to the development of social structure in New England. Much of their emphasis was based on education, community, and family. The family was considered as a central social unit. It is where children were raised to embrace Christian values. New England received several families as compared to other regions that were colonized. The area had a stable population growth resulting from a balanced sex ratio (Doc A). The Puritans also believed that living together would help in sustaining the members of the society. Different families lived together and shared a common grazing land. The groupings were known as towns and villages resulting in the development of various communities that shared common Christian values. The Puritans also emphasized on education which enlightened and informed their members about religious practices. As a result, they established Harvard University that was utilized to train Puritan ministers. Harvard University also acted as a learning institution for clergymen in the Puritans hierarchy (Doc B). Therefore, education, family, and community as emphasized by the Puritans influenced the social development of the New England.

In conclusion, the Puritans emphasis on Christian values, theocratic structures, and winning Gods favor had a profound influence on the political and economic development of the New England. Moreover, the education, family and community values identify Puritan’s contribution to the social development of the New England.

Textile Factory

The textile industries regulated the lives of their employees in the mid-nineteenth century by introducing laws that restricted the activities of the employees in the firms. The companies introduced laws that workers were expected to comply with. The regulations affected employees who were working in various residential areas. For instance, the employees who were occupying the Boarding houses belonging to Merrimack manufacturing company were expected to adhere to various provisions[1]. The employees were not expected to host any person who was not an employee of the company with official permission from the employer. This regulation barred several employees from staying in close contact with their immediate family members. As a result, the social ties of the employees were affected. The employees did not find the opportunity to watch over children. The company outlined specific guidelines to regulate the movement of the employees in and out of the houses. The regulations required all the doors to be closed by 10 pm, and violation of this rule required sufficient evidence or excuse. In this regards, the employees did not have adequate leisure time with friends. The species of the animals to be kept by the employees were regulated. For instance, no employee was allowed to keep swine within the company premises. Men were not allowed within the boarding houses, and over 26 women occupied each house.

Employees who had not displayed good character were allowed to board in the company houses[2]. The company did not employ any person who displays immoral character or is addicted to any drug or intemperance. These regulations limited the social life of the employees. They were made to act as slaves since strict adherence to the regulations was required. Anybody who objected the regulations was dismissed with immediate effect. These rules are considered as unfamiliar and did not favor the development of the employees in their respective careers. Besides, the people who were residing within the company premises were not allowed to associate with immoral people. Anybody who was suspected to have any relations with individuals suspected of a crime was dismissed. Majority of the people who were employed in these factories were women and children. The early textile industries also regulated the religion of the employees. All the employees who worked in these industries were required to observe the Sabbath. The employees who worked in these industries worked from 5 am in the morning to 7 p.m. Majority of the workers were women. Each machined was assigned 80 women with only two men acting as the overseers[3]. The noise produced by the machines was infernal and frightful. The doors and windows were kept closed making the rooms hot and unsuitable for the ladies female employees. The nature of work in the firms affected the intellectual development of the employees.

However, the employees responded to these regulations to allow them to lead a productive life. They formed trade unions and appointed leaders to address their grievances[4]. Besides, they held demonstrations to compel the employers to give in to their demands. The women workers formed Factory Girls Association to resist attempts by the company directors to cut their wages. Apart from strikes, the workers also sought legal redress in the State Legislature to address their issues. They signed petitions to the Massachusetts General Court to demand a reduction in the number of working hours to ten. The female workers also advocated for the employment of more male employees to take up responsibilities in the firms[5]. The textile industry was rapidly expanding, and more people were required to fill the new jobs. The demands of the female workers and legal petitions compelled the company executives to give in to some of their applications to improve the working conditions in the textile factories.

  • [1] Abbott, Edith. A Sister’s Memories: The Life and Work of Grace Abbott from the Writings of Her Sister, Edith Abbott. University of Chicago Press, 2015.
  • [2] Abbott, Edith. A Sister’s Memories: The Life and Work of Grace Abbott from the Writings of Her Sister, Edith Abbott. University of Chicago Press, 2015.
  • [3] Abbott, Edith. A Sister’s Memories: The Life and Work of Grace Abbott from the Writings of Her Sister, Edith Abbott. University of Chicago Press, 2015.
  • [4] Baxandall, R. F., Gordon, L., & Reverby, S. (Eds.). (1995). America’s working women: A documentary history, 1600 to the present. WW Norton & Company.
  • [5] Baxandall, R. F., Gordon, L., & Reverby, S. (Eds.). (1995). America’s working women: A documentary history, 1600 to the present. WW Norton & Company.

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