Though he thriveth ordinarily well, yet he laboreth much

from Alan Taylor, American Colonies: The Settling of North America, v. 1:

Puritans were incorrigible doers, seeking out the preached word, reading the Scriptures, perfecting their morality, and proposing radical schemes for improving society and disciplining the unruly and indolent. To satirize Puritanism, the seventeenth-century dramatist Ben Jonson aptly named a Puritan character Zeal-of-the-Land Busy. Their prodigious energy expressed their conviction that godly doing manifested itself in those God had elected for salvation. One Puritan subtly explained, “We teach that only Doers shall be saved, and by their doing though not for their doing.” Because diligence and discipline honored God, Puritans labored even harder to perfect their morality and worship—and to extend both to others.

The Puritan movement especially appealed to residents of the most commercialized area in England: the southeast, particularly London, East Anglia, and Sussex. Puritans came from all ranks of English society, including a few aristocrats, but most belonged to the “middling sort” of small property holders: farmers, shopkeepers, and skilled artisans. The Puritan tended to be the self-employed head of a household, of whom Robert Reyce said that “though hee thriveth ordinarily well, yett he laboreth much.” Their own modest property put them a leg up on the impoverished and underemployed half of the English population.

The English Reformation and Puritanism in New England

The English Reformation

A. G. Dickens, The English Reformation (1964)

Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400–1580 (1992)

Christopher Haigh, English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society Under the Tudors (1993)

Peter Marshall, Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation (2017)

Dairmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation: A History (2003)

Richard Rex, “Disenchanting the English Reformation,” Los Angeles Review of Books (November 24, 2017)

Puritanism and Early New England

James Truslow Adams, The Founding of New England (1921)

Charles Andrews, The Colonial Period of American History, v. 1 (1935)

Patricia Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America (1986)

Francis Bremer, The Puritan Experiment: New England Society from Bradford to Edwards (1976)

Richard D. Brown and Jack Teger, Massachusetts: A Concise History (2000)

Bruce Daniels, Puritans at Play: Leisure and Recreation in Colonial New England (1996)

George Francis Dow, Every Day Life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1935)

David D. Hall, ed., Puritans in the New World: A Critical Anthology (2004)

Alan Heimert and Andrew Delbanco, eds., The Puritans in America: A Narrative Anthology (1985)

Perry Miller and Thomas Herbert Johnson, eds., The Puritans: A Sourcebook of Their Writings (1939)

Perry Miller, The New England Mind: From Colony to Province (1953)

Perry Miller, The American Puritans: Their Poetry and Prose (1956) — an updated version of the earlier sourcebook with Johnson, without their long introduction

Marilynne Robinson, “Which Way to the City on a Hill?New York Review of Books (July 18, 2019)

Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War (2006)

Richard Ruland and Malcolm Bradbury, From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature, chapter 1 (1991)

Alan Taylor, American Colonies: The Settling of North America (2002)

R. H. Tawney, “Puritanism and Capitalism,” The New Republic (1926) and Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1922)

Max Weber, The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905)

Michael Winship, Godly Republicanism: Puritans, Pilgrims, and a City on a Hill (2012)

Michael Winship, Hot Protestants: A History of Puritanism in England and America (2019)