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Difference between Puritans and Quakers

Difference between Puritans and Quakers

If you have ever studied the history of American religion, there are two religious denominations that stand out: Puritans and Quakers. Although they existed during the same era, each has different beliefs and practices. To broaden your knowledge on this topic, we will explore the significant traits associated with Puritanism and Quakerism as well as examine their fundamental differences. By learning about these religions’ contrasting rituals, you’ll gain insight into why they developed various spiritual paths throughout colonial America.

Who are Puritans?

Puritans were a religious group that appeared in Europe in the 16th century and later migrated to parts of America. Puritanism was greatly influential on English culture and thought, as Puritans ardently opposed many of the traditions of the Protestant Church and sought a strict interpretation of the Christian faith.

  • Puritans believed in the unhindered reading of the Bible, individual diligence for personal salvation, and a strict moral code. Puritan communities focused highly on public morals, as creating righteous citizens was a cornerstone of Puritan ideology.
  • The Puritan lifestyle is sourced from their definition of moral rectitude – being obedient to God’s will necessarily means living up to societal standards based on Protestant beliefs.
  • Puritans created tight-knit communities which were often isolated from other groups, allowing them to maintain their traditional values of self-discipline and piety more easily than had they been exposed to certain lifestyles that may have contradicted Puritan ideals.

Who are Quakers?

Quakers are members of the Religious Society of Friends, a Christian denomination that has its roots in 17th-century England. Quakers believe in direct experience with God through internal and spiritual means. A Quaker’s relationship with God is personal, and their faith does not involve formal rituals, sacraments, or proclamation of creeds. Quakers aim to foster a sense of peace, justice, simplicity, and community within the religious world.

Quaker faith is based on core values such as truth-telling, integrity, stewardship, and equality among men and women from all walks of life. Quakers no longer believe they have the only rightful path to God but seek to serve him across other traditions as well. Quakers are committed to looking inwardly for inspiration through silent meetings until everyone in attendance feels a divine presence.

Difference between Puritans and Quakers

Puritans and Quakers have many similarities in terms of spiritual beliefs, yet they differ in their regard for tradition.

  • Puritans believed strongly in Puritanical religion as a way to lead righteous lives; this included strict adherence to accepted teachings and rituals within the Puritan faith.
  • Quakers, on the other hand, practiced a belief that relied heavily on direct experience with divinity and were thus quite liberal when it came to religious guidance.
  • Puritans tended to value structure, while Quakers found importance in individual experiences.

Ultimately, both Puritans and Quakers sought out honesty, integrity, faithfulness, charity, and spirituality – though stemming from different paths guided by varying ideas about tradition.


Though both groups were religious minorities in England, they had different views on how to practice their faith. The Puritans believed in a simple, unadorned form of worship while the Quakers sought to experience God through personal revelation. These differences led to two very different societies in America: the Massachusetts Bay Colony and Pennsylvania. Both groups made significant contributions to American life and culture, but their origins set them on divergent paths that continue to this day.

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