Puritans and The Scarlet Letter - THE GREAT MIGRATION

THE GREAT MIGRATION (Illustration) Visual Arts Biographies Famous Historical Events Philosophy Social Studies

This image, regarding the Puritans' "Great Migration," is online courtesy SlideShare.net. Click on it for a better view.


When Henry could not get his way, he created the Church of England (Anglicana Ecclesia). That move was ironic because a mere twelve years earlier, Henry had denounced Martin Luther and his Protestant Reformation.

The King's written statement against Luther caused Pope Leo X to confer on Henry the title Defender of the Faith. Now Henry himself had launched the English Protestant Reformation, which freed a king with wandering eyes to divorce Catherine, the first of his six wives.

Henry married Anne Boleyn (mother of the future Queen Elizabeth I) and closed all Catholic monasteries in Britain. Their wonderful treasures were now Henry's. Former Catholics became Protestants. The Pope, and the Catholic Church, no longer had authority in England.

With Parliamentary support, Henry declared himself head of the Anglican Church.

While Henry lived, Catholic resentment seethed under the country's religious surface. When Henry died, and his daughter with Catherine of Aragon (Mary I, a Catholic) became Queen (after her frail stepbrother, Edward VI, failed to survive an illness and the reign of his handpicked successor, Lady Jane Grey, lasted nine days), Catholics were emboldened.

Taking revenge, they and their queen (nicknamed "Bloody Mary" for obvious reasons) created political chaos and caused the deaths of approximately three hundred Protestants. Mary's five-year reign ended with her death (possibly of cancer) in 1558. Elizabeth I, Mary's half-sister, thereafter ascended Britain's throne.

By 1570, religious disagreements in Britain turned on how to free the Church of England from its remaining vestiges of Catholicism. (Henry VIII's church, after all, was essentially Catholic without a Pope.)

In 1608, one group of people - the Pilgrims - believed they had to completely break with the Anglican Church. Also called "Separatists," the Pilgrims left England and, by way of The Netherlands (where they remained twelve years), eventually sailed on the Mayflower (where the men on board signed the Mayflower Compact). They landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

Another group of people - the Puritans - believed the Church of England could be "purified" from within. In other words, they thought it was acceptable to remain members of the Anglican faith, although many thought it best to leave the country.

Thousands of Puritans left Great Britain in what has been called "The Great Migration." Some went to the West Indies. Those who came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony intended to form "a city on a hill" which would become a model for people still living in England.

Such far-reaching religious hopes of the Puritans, however, never fully blossomed from the seeds Henry VIII had unwittingly sown.

0 Question or Comment?
click to read or comment
2 Questions 2 Ponder
click to read and respond
0 It's Awesome!
vote for your favorite

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 01, 2005

Updated Last Revision: May 19, 2016

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"THE GREAT MIGRATION" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 01, 2005. May 30, 2020.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips