"Don't Know Much 'bout History" quiz

The place for measured discourse about politics and current events, including developments in science and medicine.
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Post by Primula Baggins »

hobby wrote:Still, where and how did the Puritans want to see religious freedom limited?
Anywhere they were in charge. :P
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
sauronsfinger
Posts: 3508
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:25 am

Post by sauronsfinger »

The Puritan were huge believers in religious freedom ... for Puritans who agreed with their leaders. The concept of religious freedom for ALL was not part of their agenda. Roger Williams found that out in 1635 when he was banished. Many others were also.
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers
User avatar
solicitr
Posts: 3728
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 7:37 pm
Location: Engineering a monarchist coup d'etat

Post by solicitr »

The Puritans were theocrats. In 17th-century Massachusetts there was no distiction made between Church and State- less so than in contemporary England, where the Church had no jurisdiction over secular matters. There was absolutely *no* religious freedom: dissenting forms of Christianity were criminal offenses, and to be convicted of being an atheist or Jew meant hanging. The first American community based on freedom of conscience was Rhode Island, founded in 1640 as a refuge for Massachusetts' persecuted Baptists.
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Post by Primula Baggins »

There was some freedom for other Christians, at least in Salem and environs; they were called "strangers," though, presumably were viewed with suspicion, and were expected to follow the religiously based Puritan laws, which included forbidding smoking inside private homes.

The laws themselves included citations for the Bible verses on which they were based.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
sauronsfinger
Posts: 3508
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:25 am

Post by sauronsfinger »

This information about the Puritans points out how the actual truth of history has been twisted over the centuries to produce a narrative that at times runs contrary to the actual events.

The idea that the Puritans came to these shores in the name of Religious Freedom is only true if one understands that it was the freedom of religion for only themselves that they wanted.

I think there are several books on examples just like this. Reminds me of the MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE ----- "print the legend". ;)
Last edited by sauronsfinger on Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Post by Primula Baggins »

To be fair, the Puritans had absolute belief in their own rightness. Freedom for "untrue" religions mattered no more to them than freedom for people with "wrong" beliefs matters to some fervent ideologues today.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
solicitr
Posts: 3728
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 7:37 pm
Location: Engineering a monarchist coup d'etat

Post by solicitr »

A great deal of the confusion, SF, probably arose from the erroneous conflation of the Pilgrims of Plymouth - Separatists - with the later Massachusetts Bay Puritans. While the Separatists were Reformed or Calvinist Protestants, they didn't share the Puritans' dictatorial ambitions. (Until 1691, Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay were separate colonies).
User avatar
Lalaith
Lali Beag Bídeach
Posts: 15435
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Rivendell

Post by Lalaith »

I like history; I really dislike economics and government, as you all well know. It's no surprise that the majority of questions I missed were related to that, instead of history. I got a 28/33 for a 84.85%.


Lali
Image
User avatar
Frelga
Meanwhile...
Posts: 20811
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:31 pm
Location: Home, where else

Post by Frelga »

solicitr wrote:There was absolutely *no* religious freedom: dissenting forms of Christianity were criminal offenses, and to be convicted of being an atheist or Jew meant hanging. The first American community based on freedom of conscience was Rhode Island, founded in 1640 as a refuge for Massachusetts' persecuted Baptists.
Quakers, as well, were a religious community persecuted under Puritans to the point of banishment or death. In Virginia, I believe, though I can't find the article now.
Prim wrote:To be fair, the Puritans had absolute belief in their own rightness. Freedom for "untrue" religions mattered no more to them than freedom for people with "wrong" beliefs matters to some fervent ideologues today.
Indeed. There is no one so capable of monstrous acts as the person who has an absolute belief in their own rightness.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
User avatar
solicitr
Posts: 3728
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 7:37 pm
Location: Engineering a monarchist coup d'etat

Post by solicitr »

Freedom for "untrue" religions mattered no more to them than freedom for people with "wrong" beliefs matters to some fervent ideologues today.
In fact, the official position of the Saudi government today: there is no such thing as the right to practice an "untrue" religion.
User avatar
vison
Best friends forever
Posts: 11961
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:33 pm
Location: Over there.

Post by vison »

Hm. For a foreigner I did okay, 28 right.
Dig deeper.
User avatar
The Watcher
Posts: 563
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:04 am
Location: southeastern Wisconsin

Post by The Watcher »

30/33. Some of those questions were very poorly worded.

As far as Pilgrims, Calvinists, and Puritans go, yes, those that generally settled into what is now known as New England tended to be quite judgmental and harsh, notable breaks of this were the movements for the establishment of Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. Colonies farther down were more moderate, but only if one subscribed to British opinions on the subject, and had to subscribe to the Anglican church, if only in tax matters. I really do not think they cared too much what you believed or practiced.

I only know the history of the Puritans so well because, believe it or not, they ended up growing into the Congregational Church by and large, which later merged with others to form the UCC. The same church that Obama now belongs to. The same church which I grew up in.

Somewhat of an irony there it seems, kind of like the reverse ideology that the Republican party went through since Abe Lincoln. :P
Last edited by The Watcher on Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
River
bioalchemist
Posts: 13194
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:08 am
Location: the dry land

Post by River »

I did well on the Puritan questions. I'm hardly an expert on Puritans, but some of my extended family are Calvinists to the core and it's a similar mindset. :/ Some of the ones I got right I got right because I knew the answers. Others I reasoned my way into the right answer. The ones I got wrong were the result of wild guessing.
When you can do nothing what can you do?
User avatar
truehobbit
Cute, cuddly and dangerous to know
Posts: 6019
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:52 am
Contact:

Post by truehobbit »

Wow, thanks all for the answers on the Puritans! :)

I guess it's true what's been said about the distortion of history through legend.
I mean, I think of the Puritans of the English Civil War as being a pretty unpleasant lot, but the Puritans who went to the US I've only ever heard of presented as seeking to be left alone in practicing their faith, so I didn't expect they went on to persecute others in their turn.
but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.
User avatar
River
bioalchemist
Posts: 13194
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:08 am
Location: the dry land

Post by River »

Ever heard of the Salem Witch Trials? Granted, that was a case of mass hysteria + land dispute/power struggle, but the framework for such a mess was built in to Puritan society.
When you can do nothing what can you do?
User avatar
MithLuin
Fëanoriondil
Posts: 1912
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:13 pm

Post by MithLuin »

Oh, I agree that questions about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (and knowing them apart!) is part of civics! Those weren't the 'irrelevant' questions I had in mind. I was merely saying that this is the type of quiz people take 'cold', with no preparation, so the failure to tell them apart is more reasonable than if you had actually brushed up on this info before being quizzed. For instance, the Gettysburg Address was referring to the beginning of the country, so forgetting which document contained which phrase did not reveal a lack of understanding how the gov't works - just a fuzzy memory ;).

The last time I studied American history was as a junior in high school, and I never took a civics/govt class. So, these questions weren't beyond that level or anything - but still, I'm not worried if the average American adult doesn't know some of that stuff. (And obviously, I wouldn't expect a non-American to know most of it!)


Most (not all) of the American colonies were founded by people fleeing religious persecution. That does not mean they all had the presence of mind to avoid doing the exact same things to others once they got here. Rhode Island was founded by people fleeing religious persecution...in Massachusetts, so they actually made a point of tolerance of religious differences from the beginning. Anne Hutchinson was famous for taking the doctrine of predestination to one of its logical conclusions - if God picked who was going to heaven and hell before we were born, anyway, what does it matter what you do in this life? Trying to be a good little Christian won't alter anything, if it's predetermined. Needless to say, this got her branded as a heretic (within the Puritan community).

Quakers were fairly universally despised, poor things, but Pennsylvania was founded by Quakers, so they had some freedom there. (The house I grew up in was built by Quakers.) Maryland was founded by Catholics, but they eventually became a minority and many anti-Catholic laws were passed in the state (forbidding people from owning land and such). This was all a carry-over from conflicts in England, more or less.

This mixed history is part of what led to the first article of the Bill of Rights both forbidding the establishment of a state religion and forbidding the gov't to curtail freedom of worship.

I realize that believing you are right can lead to intolerance and persecution - but it doesn't have to. It is the strange combination of believing you are right, but that you have to somehow enforce this or no one will agree with you that is the problem. Having no trust that people can come to agree with you of their own free will suggests a weakness in what is held to be so incontrovertibly right.

Dignitatis Humanae is the Vatican II document on human dignity and freedom of religion, but it starts out with a statement that makes it very clear that the Catholic Church thinks it is right. Thinking you are right does not necessarily lead to the belief that you need to bludgeon everyone over the head with this.
User avatar
yovargas
I miss Prim ...
Posts: 15011
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:13 am
Location: Florida

Post by yovargas »

29/33 which is better than I expected but what a weird test. :scratch: Why would the definition of profit be on a test like that??
I wanna love somebody but I don't know how
I wanna throw my body in the river and drown
-The Decemberists


Image
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Post by Primula Baggins »

I should point out that the Salem witch trials were recognized by the Puritans themselves as a tragic mistake even at the time, less than a year after they began. Compensation was paid to the families of the executed, and some of the officials involved were deeply and personally remorseful for the rest of their lives.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
The Watcher
Posts: 563
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:04 am
Location: southeastern Wisconsin

Post by The Watcher »

Primula Baggins wrote:I should point out that the Salem witch trials were recognized by the Puritans themselves as a tragic mistake even at the time, less than a year after they began. Compensation was paid to the families of the executed, and some of the officials involved were deeply and personally remorseful for the rest of their lives.
Not true at all. Things were debated for years afterwards, and no recompense was granted to any families of the victims for years, in fact reversals of the accusations against surviving accused victims did not even occur until 1703, nearly 11 years later. It took until 1712 for most of the surviving families' requests to be settled.

Yes, did people have guilty consciences? I suppose so, but that is not the same thing at all.
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Post by Primula Baggins »

But the trials stopped and the remaining accused were let go because it was seen as a mistake, as hysteria. And that was at the time.

As for remorse, there is the story of Samuel Sewall. The article doesn't include the text of his famous apology.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
Post Reply