Faculty Advisor

Elizabeth Swedo


During the decade of the 1650s, England had no King or Queen. Instead, an increasingly monarchical parliamentary system of government reigned. This government was controlled by Puritans, a hardline sect of Protestant Christianity. Although they were a religious minority and their laws relating to morality were unpopular, the Puritans pursued these policies with religious zeal linking seemingly innocuous activities, such as cock-fighting or a may-pole celebration with the supposed evils of Catholicism. Legal documents such as “March 1654: An Ordinance for prohibiting Cock-matches” and “June 1657: An Act for the better observation of the Lord’s Day” ban activities based on associations with drinking and gambling, and then in a speech by Oliver Cromwell (1564), those activities are linked with Catholicism. This demonstrates the integral role religious thought played in Puritan laws. This project is the study of how one group with a radical vision of society used language to link domestic and foreign policy to Godliness and sin, despite a lack of popular support or resulting political gain.

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