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Mark Noll - American Christian Politics, review essay - Michael P. Winship, Godly Republicanism: Puritans, Pilgrims, and a City on a Hill | Books and Culture 2012
Fabulous summary by Noll of the different religious groups in 17thC England and the New England migrations -- Winship also challenges the many accounts of early-modern republicanism that have pictured it as an essentially secular ideology strongly inimical, with its all-out focus on worldly power, to the Puritans' strict Calvinism. Instead, he argues that the "godly republicanism" of early New England came directly from spiritual sources. The Puritans' greatest desire was to bring about biblical reform of churches corrupted by abuses of unchecked power. -- Explicitly Christian virtue thus grounded the health of the "commonwealth," an expressly republican term. Those scholars, including myself, who have described the republicanism of the Revolutionary era as secular may reply that the early Puritan arrangement was soon modified by the Puritans themselves and then completely abrogated when Massachusetts was taken over as a royal colony in 1684. But Winship nonetheless makes a strong case for a definite Christian root to the founding republican principles of the United States. This re-interpretation of early New England history hinges on careful discrimination among the different varieties of English and American Puritans. Never, one might think, has a scholar made so much of so little. Yet paying close heed to how he describes these Puritan varieties is, in the end, convincing. The following chart, which sets things out as an "invention" in the Ramist logic so beloved by the Puritans, summarizes those distinctions, though it would have clarified Winship's argument if he himself had provided such a scorecard.
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june 2014 by dunnettreader

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