E/MS Unit II

Activity 1: The Puritans’ Promise to God

Explain to students that although Puritans founded both Plymouth Colony (1620) and Massachusetts Bay Colony (1630), the two groups had slightly different beliefs. The founders of Plymouth Colony were Separatists. They did not believe the Church of England could be put back on the right path and so “separated” themselves from it. The people who established Massachusetts Bay Colony, on the other hand, continued to believe that it was possible to reform the Church of England from within. They tried to do that in England but were harassed to the point where, finally, they decided to leave and build their ideal society in the Americas.

Print out and distribute copies of the excerpts from John Winthrop’s speech, so that students can follow along as it is read aloud. Stop periodically to ask students what they think Winthrop is telling his fellow Puritans. Make a list of his key points on the board. Does this speech give us any hint as to how Puritans would respond to people who practiced a different religion?