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History of the Great Migration

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History of the Great Migration goes back to the establishment of Church of England by Henry VIII in 1534. Henry VIII decides to separate from the Roman Catholic Church as the Pope denies the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine the Aragon. Henry establishes the Protestant, Church of England which he becomes the head of both church and state. The Church of England stood with the theology in the middle ground between Catholicism and Calvinism.

Puritans were strict Calvinist reformers who wanted to "purify" the Church of England. They believed that Bible was the God's true law. Hence, the puritans contended about the purpose in establishment of Church of England which was thought to be a product of political struggles and man made doctrines. The congregations of puritans believed that the Church of England was beyond the reform because of the corruption, bribery, and nepotism practiced by the church bishops. Then during the reign of James I and Charles I, the puritans were persecuted because of their beliefs and were excluded from the Church services, and sacraments. Those who openly opposed the "high church" forms that the king practiced, which were similar to the liturgy of the Catholic Church, were imprisoned.

In 1630, the Puritans leave their home after receiving a charter from the Massachusetts Bay Company to settle in New England. John Winthrop, a protestant, leads a thousand puritans to America. The majority was from the middle class of English society which allowed Puritans to interpret the Bible on their own with high literacy value. The Puritans were also intellectually advanced which they also sought to establish school for scholars. In 1636, the first college was created; Harvard University. The colonists then based the colony on the laws of God. The Puritans created their own government and wanted to be the epitome of colony in America. Their spiritual strength held community laws and customs and this unity strengthened the society. In the New World with arduous pioneer life, their spiritual bond made them sympathetic to each other's needs. The Puritans are now part of what became the Congregational Church in America.



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