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Difference between Puritans and Pilgrims

Difference between Puritans and Pilgrims

The Puritans and Pilgrims are two groups of religious settlers who came to America in the early 17th century. While they shared many similarities, there were also some key differences between them. The Puritans were a more orthodox group who believed in predestination, while the Pilgrims were more liberal and believed that humans could choose their own salvation. The Puritans also tended to be more intolerant of other faiths, while the Pilgrims were more open-minded. Ultimately, the two groups had a significant impact on American history and culture.

Who are Puritans?

Puritans were a group of English Protestants who sought to “purify” the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices and beliefs. Puritans believed that the Church of England was still too influenced by Catholicism, and they sought to distance themselves from what they saw as the corruption of the church.

Puritans also held to a strict moral code, believing that everyone was responsible for their own salvation. As a result, Puritans placed a great emphasis on hard work and personal piety. In 1620, a group of Puritans sailed to America in search of religious freedom, and Puritanism would go on to play a significant role in the development of American culture.

Who are Pilgrims?

Pilgrims were a group of religious separatists who broke away from the Church of England in the 16th century. Seeking the freedom to worship as they saw fit, they journeyed to the New World aboard the Mayflower in 1620.

  • After a difficult first winter in which many Pilgrims died, they established a successful colony at Plymouth with the help of Squanto, a Native American who taught them how to farm the land.
  • The Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest with a feast now known as the First Thanksgiving. Though their numbers were decimated by disease and conflict with Native Americans, the Pilgrims persisted and their colony eventually flourished.
  • Today, Pilgrims are remembered as courageous pioneers who helped build the foundation of what would become the United States of America.

Difference between Puritans and Pilgrims

Puritans and Pilgrims were both groups of English colonists who came to North America in the 1600s. The Puritans were motivated by their desire to Purify the Church of England, while the Pilgrims were seeking religious freedom.

  • The Puritans established the Massachusetts Bay Colony, while the Pilgrims founded Plymouth Colony. Both groups had a strong belief in hard work, self-discipline, and education.
  • However, the Puritans were much more strict than the Pilgrims, and they believed that one should only celebrate holidays that were ordained by the Bible. The Puritans also believed in predestination, while the Pilgrims believed in free will.
  • As a result of their different beliefs, the two groups developed into very different societies. The Puritans were a highly organized society with well-defined social classes, while Plymouth Colony was much more egalitarian. Today, Puritanism is often seen as a predecessor to modern conservatism, while Pilgrim values are seen as forerunners of modern liberalism.


The Puritans and Pilgrims were two groups of people who had a significant impact on the development of early America. While they shared some similarities, there were also key differences between these two groups. Understanding the difference between Puritans and Pilgrims can help you better understand American history.

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