Essay on The Arrival of the Puritans to the United States

613 Words 3 Pages
Which is more valuable: the needs of the many or the needs of the one? It is a question that has been explored all throughout human history. From the collectivist societies of the Easter Hemisphere to the individualistic cultures of the Western, everyone has his or her own opinion on the subject and it is doubtful that a universally accepted answer will ever be found. The United States of America tends to favor “the one.” The freedom to pursue one’s dreams and desires is one of the founding principles of the nation, as promised in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed in the Constitution. However, American history reveals that oftentimes the “individuality” that is accepted is the “individuality” that is approved of by the collective.
The arrival of the Puritans to what would later become the United States of America is a shining example of the individualism that the nation would be founded on – a group of people rebel against a society that tried to force its beliefs on others and the group leaves to pursue their individual ideals. This is ironic on two fronts. First, the Puritans were intolerant of other religions and viewpoints that contradicted their own. Roger Williams’ banishment from the Massachusetts colony in 1635 for refusing to abide by Puritan laws he found to contradict his own personal beliefs, such as swearing oaths of loyalty to any person other than Jesus Christ, and Anne Hutchinson’s banishment for similar reasons exemplifies the Puritan’s…