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The difference between Puritans and Pilgrims

To understand the difference between Puritans and Pilgrims, remember that Puritans wanted to purify the Church of England from within. Pilgrims thought they had to be separate completely (hence, the name "Separatists") and leave the established church.

Puritans believed (rather like modern religious fundamentalists) that the whole purpose of government was to enforce God's laws. Congregations hired and fired their own ministers; thus, congregants could have local control over what the church was saying. Contrary to the image of Puritans now, the Puritans were actually in favor of good food, drink, songs, and married love. A Protestant ethic supported willpower and hard work, but after the responsibilities were taken care of, nothing was wrong with having fun. Because they never had to answer to any central dogma, the Congregationalists eventually evolved into the most liberal Protestant denomination.

New Amsterdam (1623), the Dutch city that would become New York City, was not a beacon of liberty. The Dutch ran business for a profit and had no real interest in religious tolerance, free speech, or voting in the colony they called New Netherland. The Dutch had trouble with American Indian attacks in New Amsterdam, so they built a high wall. The street running along that wall was called Wall Street. The uptown country on Manhattan reminded the Dutch of a location in Holland, so they named it Harlem. They booted out a small Swedish settlement (1655) on the Delaware River, but were themselves later booted out when the English came, first as settlers and then in warships.

In 1664, the surrounded and profitable Dutch peacefully surrendered New Netherland to the English, who renamed it New York after the newly restored King Charles II's brother. Ownership of New Jersey accompanied the acquisition of New York. Large landholdings by a few families in New York state discouraged heavy settlement of the inland area during the early colonial period. When the American Revolution occurred, Upstate New York was still a frontier.


Question: Why did the Dutch found New Netherland?

Answer: The Dutch had commercial and mercantile goals: They wanted to make money.

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