…Puritanism became synonymous with hard work and study. It also became synonymous with a piety and works-righteousness, a moral fervor to bring about a just society, and a paranoia and intolerance for other views. In time, it led to a tendency to control others and how they live their lives including the opposition to alcohol and open sexuality. Puritan values, critics believe, are at the root of America’s current woes at home and abroad.
Puritan ethics were also blamed by traditional American southerners for being at root, the cause of another war, the American Civil War. The puritan economic success, which was seen as God’s blessing by the rich northerners was attributed by many southerners to the pure greediness of the puritan Northern Yankee. According to the influential American historian of the early twentieth century, Frederick Jackson Turner, divisions between what he referred to as the east and the west were due to the different social structures they had adopted. The social structure of the East was similar to the European class-based structure, while the west had socially, politically, and economically, a more equal structure.
Indeed, it is posited that historically, the social, political and economic structure of the south belies the reputation of the southern poor rural ‘whites’ as rednecks…