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ERIC Number: EJ818476
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-1535-0584
Education and Evangelism in the English Colonies
Watras, Joseph
American Educational History Journal, v35 n1 p205-219 2008
This article considers two related educational endeavors of the Massachusetts colony. The first is the colonists' efforts to pass their religious traditions to their children. The second is the effort of missionaries to spread the Christian faith to Native Americans. In both cases, the colonists wanted their children and the American Indians to become church members; however, their theological views added obstacles to such conversions. Although some historians think that piety, education, and family reinforced each other to make a strong Puritan community, other historians have noted that these aspects of community could work against each other. For example, education could weaken the community because it encouraged each person to think independently. Piety could weaken the secular power of church leaders because piety implied each person met God on his or her own. At the same time, the frontier and the opportunities for wealth and prosperity could lead the Puritan children to choose not to support the church. In a similar fashion, the Puritan concern with individual conscience led to problems with the Native Americans. In seeking their charter from King James, the Pilgrims promised to spread the Good News of the Gospel to the Native Americans. When they arrived in New England, the settlers considered the Native Americans to belong to separate nations in the same way they considered their own children to be independent individuals. The result was the English settlers would not impose upon the American Indians; they expected them to express interest and convert on their own to the Puritan faith. Even when the Native Americans converted, though, the Puritans retained the view that they were a separate group. As a result, when King Phillips War broke out, they could mistreat the weaker Indians among them.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts