5 Puritanism and its contribution to American people’s strong sense of mission
Puritanism is not only a religious belief, but a philosophy, a combination of life styles with living values. It has had great influence on American culture, and shaped the national characters of American people. Many of the mainstream values in the U.S. can find their origin in Puritanism of colonial periods.
Since the founding of the United States, Americans have believed that it is their mission to spread social justice and liberty across the world, and to lead human beings into a free and peacful future. This sense of mission is deeply rooted in American culture and has a huge influence on the values and attitudes of American people.
15 The sense of mission can be traced back to Puritans’ idea of predestination. To the Puritans,
they were God’s chosen people who, with God’s help and at God's will, came to North America – the New World - to escape religious prosecution. The New World was a “land of hope” where they constructed a New Canaan and pursued their religious ideals. They believed they had the mission to spread Christian spirits and safe the sinful people of the world.
20 The strong sense of mission became a core spiritual value for early Puritans in the process of
developing the New World. With the increase of their ethnic identity, Americans integrated this idea of being on a mission into their nationality.
Moreover, the mission-sense has been clearly manifested in the country’s foreign policy. Most Americans have always believed that the United States presents an ideal to the world. It is their 25 mission to spread, acting on God’s will, their democracy and liberty to all people and countries of the
world, and send light to every corner of the earth. Thus, with their national power getting stronger, the United States began to spread their culture and values to many other countries by way of political actions, economic support or military pressure. As a result, many other cultures in the world more or less have been affected by American culture. In a sense, it is because of this strong sense of mission 30 within their culture that the United States is promoting their values of democracy. Of course, in reality,
Americans are confronted with many challenges when they try everything and anything to fulfil their mission. It is nearly impossible for them to reach the whole world with their values.
Kang, N. (2009): Puritanism and Its Impact upon American Values. – in: Review of European Studies, p. 148-59, Vol.1, No. 2,
40 line 17: prosecution = Verfolgung