The voyage across the Atlantic was a long and sometimes very dangerous journey. The puritans were set to make a migration to a land were they could practice their religious beliefs in peace. Their migration to this New England had a major impact on their religions future. In the beginning of the new colony the hardships they suffered only brought them closer to their religion. Only after the colony was finally well established the absence of these hardships proved to pull the religious community apart.
The movement of most families to New England was far different than in any other migration to the New World. Most of the other areas that were starting new colonies were largely composed of young men that were looking at this as an opportunity to advance their financial position. The settlers in the Chesapeake region had a much more difficult time than the family oriented area of New England. They didnt have the family structure and religious ties to pull together into a tight nit community. The families that migrated to New England were following Puritan religious leaders. Before starting off on this journey they had already been part of a religious community that was established throughout England. This made it so there was an organized group of people with a purpose already established. The purpose of starting a whole new religious community.
The first few settlements of New England had many hardships and established a very close community. As more ships arrived every year the original settlements wanted to keep the same tight nit communities intact. The community was so close because everything was based around religion. Every house once established made an effort to keep to the religious ties close to their family. Individual families were kept close due to the way that land was distributed and redistributed to the children.
As children grew up with their families they worked hard preparing their parents land. They knew that one-day when they started a family of their own they would receive a portion of their parents lot. The children earned this land through all of their hard work during childhood. This is what the leaders of the puritan community did not recognize. When the first generation began to die off more land was being passed down to the younger generations. This land was already well prepared and had hoses and other buildings built on it. The elders in the church community began to notice this and thought that receiving all this newfound wealth from their fathers was spoiling the young generation.
The Puritan leaders were worried that the new generation was becoming too focused on the possessions that they had just received from their parents that were quickly passing away. The Puritan leaders saw this as a major threat to the church because their way of life was not supposed to be focused around worldly possessions. The younger generation was able to attain more material goods without trying any harder than their parents were. The life in New England was becoming easier. Life was becoming easier because this younger generation had already put in many years of hard work preparing their land and houses. Their work was done early in their childhood, different from their parents that did the majority of their work in the new land in the middle of their adult years. This is what the Puritans did not take into consideration when they were concerned about how they were living their lives.
The Puritan leaders were just concerned about the church community staying intact throughout the next generation. They didnt realize that the life in New England was just making a shift. There were now many more people there and the population was spread out over a large area. If they could have looked into the average family they would have noticed that life was based around their religion. The easiest way to tell how the families felt about their religion was to simply take a look at their leisure activities. Families were investing in books about religion, such as daily devotionals.
The younger generation attended church with the same attendance their parents did, but the church was now being separated between them and the older generation. The preachers now spoke to the people in two different ways. The ones that made the trip across the ocean felt that after fleeing the English homeland they were more spiritually clean after making a great voyage to be able to practice their religion. The younger generation had no experience like this to reassure themselves that they would be holy in the eye of God. The church leaders did not realize that the new generation did have the same exact morals as the generation before them.
The younger generation did have their own problems that they had to deal with throughout their lives. There were many different things but they were all still different than the difficulties that their parents had gone through. One of these difficulties was the army of caterpillars that invaded the regions crops. They had to deal with a shortage of food and another breakout of smallpox all at the same time. This is why the preachers were convincing the common folk that they were not being as holy as their parents generation. They thought that God was bringing all of these disasters as a way of payback. The truth is that they were living their lives just as their parents had. The only difference is that they had a few years of bad luck that they had to fight through. In no way were they being any less holy than those who made the journey to this New England they were only being convinced that they were.