Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Purifying the Puritans


Please read ALL of the following directions:
Based on your experiences with the readings and information you consumed on the Puritans, what commentary or critique can you give that shows how Puritan culture is reflected in the modern world? (Hence, where do you see Puritanical thinking/values/beliefs/ or language in our modern world?) 
I expect a solid response which shows depth in support and explanation synthesizing these ideas.  Be original, be thoughtful, be real.
When you are done with your response, please ask another critical question (just ask it under your response) that extends the topic AND as a part of your grade, you need to respond to at least 2-3 other people and their thinking.  Make sure you are being constructive and CHALLENGE one another.




50 comments:

  1. Where I see Puritanical thinking in our society is everywhere, honesty is highly valued, as well as self-reliance and hard work. Also, some can say that Puritan values has led our culture to say that we need religion. For instance, 9/10 kids in this class go to or have been connected with the church, and it seems like out of those 9 some feel morally obligated to do god's will. As well as religion, Puritans and Americans value education, steadfastness, morals, and courage. The value of education is seen by not only society's expectations for a good education, but job requirements and a law requiring kids to graduate high school. Steadfastness is the reason that America's congress is always in a deadlock: steadfastness can be good in government until you are unwilling to compromise. Morals are clearly shown when parents teach their kids things like the golden rule: "Treat others how you would like to be treated". And courage is highly valued, as people love heroes in all societies. However, some Americans can keep the very negative ideal of racism from the Puritans, as bigotry is prevalent in their culture. One only has to look at America's past and the present for proof of that still existing.
    Out of all of the different cultures that have come to America, why has America latched on to Puritan ideals?

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    1. I don't quite agree with your statement of "9/10 kids in this class go to or have been connected with the church" Because I can name a few who are not. (More than 9/10 kids). I also don't think America has latched onto the the Puritan beliefs but have strayed away from them in many different ways.

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    2. I think that much of your argument is based on assumed fact and this kind of discredited you straight from the get go. I feel that more and more the modern world is straying from religion not holding it closer. Many people still consider themselves religious but do not strictly follow the guidelines and beliefs of their religion. More and more people are turning towards science or other religions and this shows that society has strayed somewhat from the puritan values of religion. I do however agree with most of the other values you chose. Morals in particular because the idea of right, wrong, good, and evil is/was so engrained in both societies.

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  2. I think that our American culture reflects quite a bit of puritanical thinking, but it has also strayed quite far from it. We often like to think we are very religious people, always honoring God, but yet in our modern culture we are not as conserved, and we don't live our lives "pleasing to God". Sure, back in puritanical times still nobody was perfect, but they lived and did their best in order to get to heaven. Modern days, people go to church on Sunday, but then they live the rest of the week pleasing to themselves. I think modern morals, education, discipline, etc. have gone down quite a bit since the 1600's. Times have changed dramatically since then, modern "Christianity' seems to be much more loose than that of the puritans. However I believe we still have the ideas of hard work, like Tyler said. We are still a society where the majority of people work hard, and are social. To answer Tyler's question "Out of all the different cultures that have come to America, why has America latched on to puritan ideals?" I think that we have absorbed a variety of cultures, even though the puritanical one is still there, also many other cultures are a big part of America. I believe puritanical roots still exist, because it was the beginning of our country, our roots are embedded into puritanical belief. It has been around for 400 or so years now. My question is, how have modern beliefs, attitudes and cultures strayed from old puritan beliefs?

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    1. I agree with you when you said that our modern culture is not as conserved as theirs was. I think that we don't revolve our life around the concept of making God happy like they did but we do value doing good deeds.

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    2. I agree with you both saying that our modern culture is not as conserved as theirs was. I think we focus more on other things in our lives and we have kind of went away from living our lives to "please God". I don't think we have changed in a negative way I think that our ways have just changed over the years.

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  3. I think that puritan beliefs hide in our society. We push that thought away because we want growth and difference. It is built into our society, for example, in the article we read it said "they found that American students judged promiscuous women more harshly than British students did". As children we are pushed to think more modest yet our actions are different. The puritan beliefs are still linked to the way society works but are going into a different direction. Trey's question was "How have modern beliefs, attitudes and cultures strayed from old puritan beliefs?". Modern beliefs are drastically different than the puritans. Women wear more revealing clothing and are more independent. Puritan beliefs also would focus primarily on what will happen when they die. Now days people don't worry so much about death and what will happen to them in the after life. Also back then lives were consumed with religion and now most people go to church only when they feel like it. Yet we still have some of the values that were passed on by the puritans. I question will it get to a point were we have no puritan values?

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    1. I like how you said how Americans tend to hid the fact that we do have puritan beliefs in our society. Do you think we will ever break away from that tendency?

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    2. I do agree where you went with the understanding of this. I think we will get to a point where Americans will completely stray way from Puritan values because the actual values of any belief are fading as we move on into the future on understanding

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    3. I agree with the points you made and how you said puritan beliefs are "built into our society". I think that there's a small trace of the puritan values in parts of our society, but for different reasons. Work ethic is a fair example that has been used a lot by the rest of the students. I think its a fair example because we do believe in hard work and good deeds, but its not because we are terrified of going to hell. I feel like there will always be a hint of puritanical thinking reflected on our society, but our values will be conjured from our own, different beliefs and reasoning.

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  4. I would say that generally America has a some-what Puritan mind set, but our actions are sometimes much different from the Puritan lifestyle. Americas today have similar morals to Puritans such as "hard work and good deads" bringing rewards. The studies shown in the article prove to an extent how Puritan beliefs have influenced
    America about ideas about work, sex and mortality, "These results suggest a tight Puritanical intermingling of work, sex and morality in the American mind.". It is true that many of us have Puritanical-like values and morals but today in America religion is not stressed as much as it was in the 1600's. Many Americans go to church but do not allow their beliefs to control their entire lives, much like people did in the 1600's.
    Tyler's question was "Out of all of the different cultures that have come to America, why has America latched on to Puritan ideals?". I would say America has latched on to Puritan ideas so much because of the way the ideas put fear into peoples minds. Much like how Edward stressed the idea that if you did not become born again you would go to hell, some people are still driven by this idea pasted down through generations though the popularity of this belief has declined.
    Gina's question was, "Will it get to a point were we have no puritan values?" I believe that puritan values are decreasing and decreasing everyday, but I do not think we will get to a point that there will be NO Puritan values at all. I think this because some puritan values are purely "right from wrong" and I think these things are programed into the human brain and can never be truly ignored.
    My question is: do you think everyone has some Puritan values in them? Are some Puritan values "universal morals"?

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    1. I like how you said Americans today somewhat think like the Puritans did. I agree with you I also think that some of their beliefs like religion influence our idea of religion but we are not exactly the same in terms of how we show it.

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    2. Chelsea, I think that we do have Puritan values in someways, but overall now. To me being Puritan means having over excessive values and morals. I think that everyone is passionate about something in that way.
      I like how you included facts in your response.

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  5. I believe that America embodies quite a bit of puritanical ideals. However we don't go to the same extent with these ideals. The ideal I connected with the most was the virtue of hard work. This is reflected by the American Dream. This promotes and rewards hard work through materialistic things. Although the reward has changed, the ideal remains the same. If you work hard, good things will come.

    In what other ways does society exemplify puritanical cultural views and ideas?

    Gina~I love your word choice when you say, "hides in our society". Great work
    Trey~What other cultures are you talking about? Please elaborate

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Nice work Dom. I agree with you in saying that modern day America embodies a lot of puritanical beliefs, but not to the same extent. Besides the existing Puritans I don't think that most people have such a strict and demanding devotion to their religion. Also your point about the American dream was strong, but a little lacking in thought. Try to elaborate more on how these ideas coincide with each other. Overall, great job!

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    3. I really like how you said "Although the reward has changed, the ideal remains the same." You couldn't be more right! I believe that hard work always pays off..The reward may not be the same or come as fast as you wanted it to.But I believe that it is worth it in the long run........You have a really strong start, but I think it could use some more examples or connection to the article..Good start!

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  6. I definitely believe that modern day America uses puritanical ideas or cultures. The main idea that I see everyday is that hard work will eventually pay off. I believe that there are so many people out there that are constantly putting in hard work hoping that one day it will pay off, which it most likely will. I also think that we value religion somewhat similar to how the Puritans did. For example, there are some people out there that use religion as a motivator when they are working or being educated.

    My question: Without the Puritans, how different do you think our beliefs/values/ideas would be? Do you think we could have created a culture without the roots of the Puritans?

    Gina- I think that there will always be some type of Puritan culture in us. There might not be in everyone but I doubt that it will disappear. It would be hard to get rid of all their beliefs and values.

    Chelsea- I believe that everyone has some type of Puritan value in themselves. I definitely think that a part of Puritan culture can act as a universal moral for someone. It is very easy for someone to live by something of their culture, whether it be a belief or an idea.

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    1. Hey Jake. I think we, the American people, do value religion heavily. A lot of our morals and life decisions are based on religion. Religion influences our life arguably more than anything else, and it has done so for thousands of years. Puritans do use religion as a reason to educate children and so it could be said that they really value religion. Great work!

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    2. Jake, I also think that America uses Puritanical ideas still by the thought of hard work will eventually pay off, which gets drilled into me almost every day at football practice. We also value religion highly, because most of us do use religion as a motivator to do good and bad things. Although, Haden I do not agree with you that religion influences us more than anything else because for many religion may be a part of their life, but it's not a big part.

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  7. I believe that America today is a lot more ostentatious then the Puritanical ways of life way back, however the whole world has evolved to be more ostentatious, and therefore Puritanical views can be seen in everyday life in America. An experiment is conducted that proves this and in the article it says,"They found that American students judged promiscuous women more harshly than British students did." Back in the original settler Puritan times women would not even act promiscuous, and as the world as became crazier, America is a little less crazy when thinking about their core values.
    My question: Is having "Puritan roots" a good thing or bad thing? If we as a country were founded on another groups belief, would America be a better place?
    Jake- I believe that without the foundations of Puritans our society today would be very different. I think America would still have a culture without these roots, however I think that America would probably be a worse place without these ideals in the back of their minds.
    Chelsea- I don't think everybody has Puritan values in themselves. Some people aren't very spiritual and just live life with a game plan of having fun. I do believe that most people have some type of Puritan value in themselves, but there are a few with no regards to Puritan culture at all.

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    1. I love that you went back to our topic of violence in our world and how we strive off of it. With your example from the article about promiscuous women being judged more, what do you think our world would be like if women had to be completely covered and we followed that Puritan value? Also, I think it's a good thing that we have Puritan roots because it just means that we've come a long way in discovering how to think for ourselves and what we want to believe in. I think America would be the same if we were founded on other beliefs, although, if they were more harsh, we would have to obey them, so there is also a very good chance that America would be worse.

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    2. I think the fact that we used to have Puritanical beliefs isn't necessarily a bad thing. People acted morally and had strict rules, which probably led to more of a formal society and more respect towards one another. Even if we came from a different root of beliefs, modern America wouldn't look any different because over time many things change, and even now, I believe that most of the Puritanical beliefs we used to have are gone.

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  8. I believe that Puritan culture is greatly reflected in our modern American society. Most Americans including myself value hard work and good deeds. We learned that if you work hard you will get the results that you wish for. This is the same idea that the Puritans had, they believed that hard work and good deeds would bring rewards in life and after life. I also see Puritan culture reflected in modern American society because Americans do empathize self reliance and self discipline, just like the Puritans did. In addition Puritans also believed in strong morals, in America most citizens make decisions based on their morals and beliefs. This connects back to the Puritans because they took their morals and beliefs very seriously and I can definitely see that being reelected in modern day American culture.

    As life moves on and we change culturally do you think we will lose Puritan culture, morals, and values in society? If so, why?

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    1. I like how compared Americans to Puritans. I asked the same question. I don't think that we will or if we do it will be awhile. The Puritan lifestyle was 260 years ago and we still have so I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon.

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    2. You spoke about how in both societies hard work and good deeds will get you where you want to go, yet many people in modern society do bad deeds and use others to succeed. I wonder where this idea came from? Did it stem from puritan society? I like how you brought in morals and the sense of right and wrong because that was a huge part of puritan society and has a large role in society today. How do you think that exposure to other religions and cultures shaped the morals of the modern world? Overall your response was well written, thought provoking, and gave me a lot of new and interesting questions to chew on.

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  9. I see Puritan beliefs in our world today because like the article says, " socializing while on the job was a distraction from the assignment God gave you." I believe that even in school, if you start talking or socializing in class its frowned upon and teachers expect you to be professional. Our world is based off of what everyone's morals are, or at least the powerful people, and like the article said, "Puritan values seemed to be guiding their moral judgment." I did some more research on Puritans and found that Puritan actually means "against pleasure" and yes, people are often times against pleasure in this world because we do things not necessarily because we want to, but because society expects us to. Furthermore, Puritans worked toward religious, moral and societal reforms, people in our world do that everyday, working for what they believe in, and if they aren't, then they're experiencing no pleasure.

    What do you think makes American college students have more views like a Puritan than any other country's college students? Why do you think American heritage is the way that it is?

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  10. I think America still embodies the Puritan spirit by being so determined in our lives we as humans want to be the best and are scared of not being successful. The fear of loosing something we believe in so dearly scares us more than not even trying. But I know kids at Arapahoe want to be on a sports team so badly and the fear of not making it and how people will react to the outcome is terrifying. The rejection is sort of how Puritans interpret the devil and Hell. Trying is the only way we can fight off the devil and follow the teachings of God.

    Will America always have Puritanical beliefs or will we as a country move on to another culture? Why?

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    1. I really like how you used a real life example that you encountered first person. Also, yeah, our world does have that spirit of fear of rejection, why do you think people are scared of rejection?

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    2. I totally agree with you Kat, you read my mind. I love how you said " we as humans want to be the best and are scared of not being successful." I think that humans are to afraid of failing...But its failing that shapes us to become a better person... NICE JOB

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  11. The point in modern America that I see Puritan values reflected the most is work ethic. The American economy is based on hard work; if you work hard then you'll make money. This isn't the case for everyone obviously (people who inherit money or live off minimum wage jobs), but its the idea that our economy is centered around. As stated by Mathew Hutson in his article "Still Puritan After All These Years", Americans believe that "hard work and good deeds would bring rewards".

    Another thing that connects puritanical thinking to modern day world is conformity. In every society, people fear rejection, and conform (not everyone of coarse). Puritans had a set of rules and guidelines they all followed, and they were afraid to oppose the norm. Obviously the conformity isn't nearly as bad in America, but the fear is definitely there in places like the countries in the middle east (for women at least).

    What would our society be like if it was still mainly puritan?

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    1. I love your question, it is very thought provoking! I really like how you brought in the idea of fear and how that motivates people because I feel fear will never really go away. Do you see any parallels between the central goals of modern society and puritan society? Money and God?

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  12. Puritanical beliefs are still present in modern day America. By looking at several aspects of our current society many connections can be made to puritanical thinking in terms of morals. Every American has set internal guidelines that they follow in order to uphold proper social behavior. Many of these morals are derived from religion. From birth, children are scorned and believed to be sinned. The sins can only be remedied through religious education and "a child could only be redeemed through religious education and obedience" (Puritans). It is their duty to be faithful to their family and learn the word of God. Many Americans have morals, such as: "appreciate what you have and not what you could have", or "be who you are and not who others want you to be". Just like Puritans, people in society hold true to these rules because it is what they were raised on and how they believe they should act.

    Also, another way modern American society is comparable with Puritanical beliefs is how both conform to trends in society. During the Salem witch trials, many people accused others of implementing witchcraft because they were under pressure to do so. Examples of jurors being pressured into altering verdicts in modern society have become prevalent, such as this case in Long Island, New York in 2007, " On Saturday night, when the jury was polled, he refused to vote guilty, He said that he and a female juror, whom he declined to name, had endured pressure and mistreatment from the other jurors because they remained “diametrically opposed” to them" (Juror). Just like the townspeople of Salem, Francois Larche was unsure of the correct ruling on the case, but was pressured into naming the suspect guilty. Both cultures in their own respects are guilty of conformity and succumbing to pressure.

    If Puritanical beliefs are still alive in modern day society, how long do you think they will continue to influence people? Will there come a time where these beliefs are totally contradictory of the current social norms and Puritans are outcast from society?

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  13. In America, I see very little Puritanical beliefs in the modern society. The one big thing about America is that it is always changing. To be an innovative country, America can't hold onto the traditional values it was based off of. Puritan values say we must base our life off of god. Our schools, our work, and even our government. America has laws against most of that. Just because religion interferes in our lives today and it has old values we see as ridiculous today. Though some Puritanical beliefs are still apparent. In society beliefs such as restricted women equality; Which is slowly becoming better and more equal is still alive today. Yet Americans know what some problems are that seem Puritanical they try to change it as best they could.

    My question about this thought is, if we know about some Puritanical beliefs are still fallowed today, Why are we taking so long to change them?

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    1. I really agree with the point you are making and how America is always changing. What do you think America would be like if we did actually find one tradition to stick with? Can you imagine how different it would be? People might actually get along better. Although, it would be hard because everyone is so different, and some people agree with Puritanism, and others don't.

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    2. I disagree with you, but I do agree that the puritan value of religion is not prevalent any more. However, I disagree that there is very little in the way of Puritan beliefs today. Although most of them have gone away, 2 examples of puritan beleifs stand out the most to me: Hard work and importance in education. I see what your point is, but puritan beleifs have not gone away.

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    3. I agree with your point on how we really aren't that puritanical. I mean there are some values that kind of reflect the puritans in some way, but defiantly not to the extremes they took it to. We think working hard is important, but most of us aren't doing it because we're terrified of going to hell or anything like that. My point is that there are values that we have today that are similar to the puritans, but they aren't there for the same exact reasons, we think differently.

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    4. I agree with you on the fact that America is always changing, but I don't see how that is a bad thing. We are developing our traditions as time goes by. I still see traditions that America carries such as freedom, salvation, and hard work.

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  15. The main puritanical values I see in society today are hard work and necessity of maintaining a good image. In puritanical society people worked so hard to purify and be good in the eyes of God, they overlooked some of the wrong doings in their methods. For example, killing people to rid the devil. In America, people do the same; they are so focused on the final goal that they don't see the harm they cause while clawing their way up. Many times, other peoples faces act as stepping stools for someone trying to climb up a company ladder and usually the climber only sees the stool and not what it is made of. The article talked about how socializing with co-workers was seen as a distraction from God's work. I think this idea has carried over to modern society and that is why it is so easy for someone to "use" a coworker to succeed because they have no personal ties to hold them back or make them feel bad.
    Image plays a huge role in success in the modern world; if you are seen as lazy, disrespectful, and not trustworthy then you will probably not succeed. Image also had a large part in puritan society; they believed that how you are seen in the eyes of God decided your future, heaven or hell. They even worried over their image in the eyes of others in the society. In the first few pages of The Crucible Samuel Parris is seen fretting over how his daughter's illness will affect his reputation in society.

    Both of these values show some degree of wrongdoing and selfishness in two societies that strive to to be good.

    Is it possible now and was it possible in puritan societies to completely eliminate wrongdoing and selfishness?

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    1. No emily, I was not and never will be possible to eliminate those things in any society, because there will always be bad people. Although Puritan life was a lot more controlled than life is today, it is never possible to eliminate those things. Besides that statement, I agree with you and especially the fact that we all have that need to maintain good image, even if we don't like to think that we want to. To be honest, I am envious of those who do not care, because they must be really happy people!

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    2. It will never be a reality that we can eliminate wrongdoing because there will always be that one person who gets curious and strays from what we are told and gets in trouble and starts and entire train reaction. Also there has always been evil and wrong in this world and I think that no mater what restraints you put on someone, if they want to be bad and do terrible things they're going to.

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  16. I think America still carries the Puritan spirit. I believe that Americans try too hard to become the optimal person. In the article it says "This led to belief in success as a path to salvation: hard work and good deeds would bring rewards, in life and after." I believe that people choose to live by these rules. Its like the principle of karma, if you do good actions then good actions will happen to you. I personally don't think that if you do good actions then you will receive good actions. I also don't believe that you can get to heaven from good deeds. I think that Americans are to afraid of failing, but I think failing shapes us into a stronger person.

    Do you think it is better to succeed all the time, or learn from your past mistakes?

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    1. I think that it would be better to learn from past mistakes because if you are just succeeding all the time then you can never grow or make yourself better, there is no room for improvement. Also, what happens if one day someone comes along and beats you? It will ruin the entire moral because no one has every lost or learned how to lose.

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    2. I think it's always best to learn from part mistakes. If you don't then you really aren't succeeding. I think that success is based mainly off mistakes. When people make mistakes they are constantly trying to develop as people and make changes to be successful in what they do. Success is what everyone strives for, but you can't get there without learning from your past mistakes.

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  17. I believe that America has similar ideas and a similar culture to the Puritan culture. In today's society you see examples of hard work paying off in America. If you look at a company owner such as Steve Jobs you see that he didn't have a high GPA graduating high school and wasn't considered a smart student. If you look at where he got in life you see a multimillionaire with a very successful company. This is an example of how hard work pays of in America. In America you also see the similarity of beliefs. I think our beliefs are mainly influenced by religion. If you believe in a greater power than you have a thought process of doing what is right for a form of afterlife on earth. The Puritans lived their lives worshiping God and fearing the devil and you see this culture present in modern America. Overall I would say there are many similarities you can see Americans living like Puritans.

    What are some major differences in Puritan and American thinking? Are Americans more self conceited than the Puritans were?

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    1. I believe that Puritans only had to think about praising God just to be able to go to heaven after they die. The modern Americans have many other things to take care of besides religion and for many people education comes first, and then maybe religion. I think that people try very hard in order to make their dreams happen or achieve their life goals, and that's what the Puritans and modern day Americans have in common. Also, I believe that both Americans and Puritans were self conceited because it is their responsibility of their future and you have to work your own to make it happen to you.

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  18. I think that the main similarity between puritan times and modern America is that we put people in boxes that have labels and there is really not much getting out you group. In puritan times if you were a reverend then you were thought of as higher or more moral than hoers for the majority of the time. Today in America, even though we don't admit to it, we have set opinions on people based on their work. For example at a school a principle is thought of to be much higher up in status than the janitors and hand men around the school because of the position and what they do. Now for all we know the janitors could be 100x smarter than a principle but they are thought of as much less because they chose to clean tables with their lives. Now we do not like to admit to this fact because this is America and everyone is equal but in some aspects that is not the case at all.
    Do you think that we will ever be able to all be totally equal in every aspect and all thought of as equals?

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  19. I think that it is hard to find Puritanical thinking or beliefs in the modern American society. America is not one of the countries whose teens are prude and strict about approching the different gendered people, unlike what the article stated. "They (the researchers) found that the participants showed increased approval of the prudish school officials when primed with thoughts of work." I believe that this is totally false because especially high schoolers don't like things when schools make strict rules about how we should dress or cancelling prom because of the sexual behaviors. Also, we don't have laws in America saying that we have to wear certain types of clothings to cover specific body parts, especially women. I believe that over time, most of the Puritan beliefs have evaporated and nowhere here in America.
    Would people from other countries think of Americans as moral and prude because of the Puritanism we had in the past and its act as a huge part of modern American society?

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  20. Puritans beliefs have made their way into our modern day culture in subtle ways. It is things like work ethic, religious devotion, and people ability to follow and do as their told without questioning it that still resemble the puritan beliefs that were so prominent in 1692 and the years surrounding. In modern day America, work ethic is one of the most important things in anyone's day to day life. If you aren't hard working it shows. You can get no where without and Puritans understood that. Along with that, the religious devotion that the puritans had carried over into our modern day culture. Obviously, it is not nearly as strong as it was in the past, but several people do spend much of their life devoted to their respected religious "idol", for lack of better word, and will still give anything for it. Finally, Americans have strongly withheld the trait to do as they’re told instead and not to question things like the puritans did.

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