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How the Puritans Differ from the Pilgrims

Puritanism, which consists of the Puritans and the Pilgrim, was a group of believers that broke away from the Catholic Church after the English Reformation, which was brought about after the pope of the Catholic Church denied Henry VIII his intended divorce.

Although these two groups originated from the same place, they are having a lot of differences between them. The first notable difference was their timing of arrival into America from England. The Pilgrims, led by Robert Browne came earlier in the year 1620, having travelled from Holland aboard the Mayflower. They were fewer in number having endured a rough voyage and settled at Plymouth. The Puritans led under the leadership of John Foxe, arrived nearly a decade later records showing between the years 1629 and 1630. They arrived in many ships and settled in the Massachusetts Bay. They greatly outnumbered the earlier Pilgrim visitors.

The Puritans were reformers; they had an overall aim to reform the Anglican Church from within. They had a more rational understanding of the relationship between the Church and the State. They also believed that the Church of England was indeed they one true Church and remained loyal to England besides their style of worship. Although the Pilgrims, also known as the Separatists, were once one with the Puritans they broke away from them following the failure to realize certain ideas and also the belief that they shouldn’t compromise on their “purification” in the matter of Church and State. With this discontent they left England and are seen as the first to voyage to America.

The Puritans also gave a lot of emphasis to Religion and Education. Although not all Puritans that travelled aboard the Mayflower came for religious purpose some came to pursue better economic opportunities this made them have an upper hand in the society as they were ranked as the upper middle class. The Pilgrims for the most part were really poor, referred to as yeomen.

The pilgrims had a more democratic system of governance. Having developed a sort of covenant, their leaders and members were equal with clear separation of the State and Church. The puritans system of governance was more theocratic. Having retained the English system in which the leaders were given the divine to rule and authority over the people. In this system of governance the State and Church overlapped.

As much as the two people have the same origin, the puritans and the pilgrims are very much different.