The Shifting Ideological Currents of the Transatlantic Puritan Community in the Early Seventeenth Century



This article explores the ideological transfigurations which appeared when English Puritans relocated to New England. It does so by examining particular communications which took place between the Puritans of the “Great Migration” of the 1630s and their erstwhile associates in “Old” England. Though both sets of Puritans had seemingly much in common when they were ideological allies back in Old England, not least being an antipathy towards the Laudian ecclesiastical establishment of the late 1620s and 1630s, the movement to the colonial periphery of New England exposed previously unnoticed, or, at least, overlooked, ideological divisions. This article explicates one significant ideological issue upon which these Old and New England Puritans were divided: that of the appropriate relationship between the civil and ecclesiastical spheres of the polity.