Morgan’s Puritan Thesis

by willard ~ September 7th, 2010. Filed under: HIST 299, HIST299.

Edmund Morgan’s thesis on the Puritan Ethic extensively details the ways in which the Puritan ideals of hard work and frugality made their way into the hearts and minds of colonists throughout the American Revolution. Morgan does not suggest that these ideas are the cause of the revolution, but are ideas and feelings shared by most Americans at the time, whether from the North or the South. Morgan presents an extremely strong case, citing quotations from many famous Americans, including Sam Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and John Hancock. Morgan argues that as Americans became complacent and lazy as a result of wealth, slavery, and an move towards industrialization that allows for a less labor intensive life. Morgan doesn’t claim that the Puritan Ethic is a strictly Puritan or even religious idea, but more is more about the values and ideas instilled in many Americans at the time, and characterize the virtuous nature considered commendable at the time.

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