Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type



Languages & Literature


The notions of salvation and its intended function in society were deeply imbedded in the identity of America's second colonial people, the Puritans. The first Puritan colony was established in 1620 with the view that they were God's chosen, carrying out His "special appointment" in the wilderness of New England (Bercovitch). Being chosen by God was the equivalent of being "saved," which is both an indication of entering Heaven after death and of attaining social acceptance and status in the Puritan community. This dual definition of salvation has changed little since its Puritan conception. Both concepts of salvation still exist in modern society, yet they are less inextricably intertwined. Also the attainment of societal acceptance has come to be of more secular emphasis rather than having religious values and implications.