The Puritans: Who They Were, Who They Are

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The Puritans who founded New England were, in their own day, a small group with no political power, easily driven from their own land into an America dominated by other powers, both native and European. Yet they are our most famous Founders, whose out sized standing in U.S. history has made them a lightning rod for later generations, representing all that is good and bad in the American story. How did this happen? What did the Puritans want New England to be? What ideas did they bring with them, and what ideas did they develop as a result of their experiences here?


Lori Rogers-Stokes received her Ph.D. from Stony Brook University. She studies the founding decades of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, focusing on the period from 1630-80 when the forms of church and state were put in place that would shape Massachusetts and American history for centuries to come. Dr. Stokes is an editor for New England’s Hidden Histories, a digital history project of the Congregational Library and Archives in Boston led by respected Puritan scholar Dr. James F. Cooper and dedicated to transcribing and studying newly discovered 17th-19th-century New England church records.