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The Organization of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

The organization of the Massachusetts Bay Colony revolved around the guiding principle and belief by its leaders that religious authority overrides civil authority. Men of faith like Cotton Mather refused to tolerate any beliefs or practices in civil society that conflicted with his idea of religion and its ôsuperiorö authority. Such an attitude enabled leaders like Mather to rationalize and validate social control that included the prosecution and persecution of those with different beliefs. According to Becker (1915) such a justification and validation stemmed from ôthe vain and pathetic effort of single-minded men to identify the temporal and the spiritual commonwealthsö (97).

Men like Mather believed he and the members of his community who believed as he did maintained a monopoly on virtue and goodness. Such thinking allowed for the justification of treating others uncharitably and unkindly who did not conform to the Puritan ideal of goodness. However, such an ideal was a man-made valuation and represents intolerance and evil when used against others merely because they hold different ôvaluesö or beliefs. Had Mather been privy to HawthorneÆs Young Goodman Brown, he might have been able to see through his hypocrisy and moral righteousness. For in Young Goodman Brown, Goodman Brown meets a mysterious older man in the woods who is portrayed as the devil. During this encounter, the stranger informs Goodman Brown that he is not the first to walk this path but that his grandfather came before him:

I have been as well acquainted with your family as with ever a one among Puritans; and thatÆs no trifle to say. I helped your grandfather, the constable, when he lashed the Quaker woman so smartly through the streets of Salem; and it was I that brought your father a pitchpine knot, kindled at my own hearth, to set fir to an Indian village (Hawthorne 1900 3).

In Young Goodman Brown, we are not sure if BrownÆs advent...

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The Organization of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 15:46, December 07, 2021, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1711112.html