Race and Redemption in Puritan New England
Although puritans in 17th-century New England lived alongside both Native Americans and Africans, the white New Englanders imagined their neighbors as something culturally and intellectually distinct from themselves. Legally and practically, they saw people of color as simultaneously human and less than human, things to be owned. Yet all of these people remained New Englanders, regardless of the color of their skin, and this posed a problem for puritans. In order to fulfill John Winthrop's dream of a "city on a hill," New England's churches needed to contain all New Englanders. To deal with this problem, white New Englanders generally turned to familiar theological constructs to redeem not only themselves and their actions (including their participation in race-based slavery) but also to redeem the colonies' Africans and Native Americans. Richard A. Bailey draws on diaries, letters, sermons, court documents, newspapers, church records, and theological writings to tell the story of the religious and racial tensions in puritan New England.
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Africans and Native Americans and Africans Beinecke Rare Book believed black New Englanders blacks and Indians Book and Manuscript Boston catechisms Cato Christ Church Records colonial New England colonial society confessions congregation conversion Cotton Mather Culture death Deerfield devil Diary Disowning Slavery Edwards New Haven Edwards’s England puritans England society Englanders of color English enslaved Africans Esther Edwards example faith God’s gospel historian hope human property Ibid indigenous James MacSparran Jesus Jill Lepore Jonathan Edwards Collection Jonathan Edwards Jr lived Longmeadow Manuscript Library Martha’s Vineyard Mass Massachusetts master minister Minkema missionaries Native Americans Negro Christianized Negro in Colonial Nicholas Gilman Northampton northern colonies ofthe Oxford University Press Perry Miller Piumbukhou Pocumtuck Pocumtuck Valley Memorial population racial redeem relationships Religion religious sermon servants spiritual Stephen Williams Stockbridge theological typescript Valley Memorial Association Waban white New Englanders Winthrop women wrote Yale University Yale University Press York