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During the seventeenth and eighteenth century both Puritanism and the Great Awakening played crucial roles in developing American society by paving the way to the development of democracy by establishing a culture governed by ethics and morals and by creating a united and independent society The Puritans referred to motley group of religious reformers who emerged within the Church of England and shared a common Calvinist theology Heyrman 2002 Their opposition to the Anglican Church and its impurities eventually led to their dispersal into the American colonies where they established their own sense of genuine self-government Bailey and Kennedy 43 After some initial surveys of land the Puritan Pilgrims settled in Plymouth Rock where they signed the Mayflower Compact in 1620 This seemingly insignificant document actually served as the invaluable precedent for later constitutions Bailey and Kennedy 43 This document the first American constitution enabled adult male settlers to assemble and create their own laws in open-discussion town meetings which was considered a great privilege 44 The Puritan Pilgrims also had the opportunity to elect their leaders one of whom was the noted scholar William Bradford 44 This early form of Puritan government parallels the democracy that exists in America today Among the ideals embraced within the social heritage of Americans a peculiar importance attaches to Puritanism and democracy The correlation between Puritanism and democracy can be seen with the emphasis that both place on ideals The Puritan faith has justified many events and in that respect it has repeatedly served as the basis of concerted action Perry 34 Puritanism rationalized the reforming and separatist movements in the Anglican church the English Revolution English migrations to New England in the early seventeenth century and the transformation of the Puritan settlements into a unified and theocratic state 34 In 1629 certain non-Separatist Puritans received a royal charter from England permitting them to settle and form what came to be known as the Massachusetts Bay Colony During
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