Images and stories of the Puritans fill our national folklore—if they've ever sat through a Thanksgiving Dinner, your students will arrive with some sense of this people and their history (however accurate or inaccurate it may be). Your challenge will lie in adding a layer of complexity to their sense of the Puritans and their New England settlement.
Religion lies at the foundation of this colony and therefore we encourage you to spend some time exploring Puritanism's distinctive brand of Calvinism. Two document-based activities will help you look at the extraordinary demands of Puritan doctrines. Another will help your students consider the role played by religion in both the colony's early success and its mid-century trials.