Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Puritan's Sex Escapades

I LOVE my AP United States History class. I love me teacher, Mrs. Pelletier, even more. She is so open-minded and she tries to teach her classes from different perspective than has been pounded into our skulls our whole lives. Although at times her socialist/hippie viewpoints shine out, those times are rare. She really focuses on developing writing skills, which is excellent considering the Gull Lake English department sucks. Anyway, like I said she likes to study things from a different viewpoint, so she assigned us to read a paper on "The Puritans and Sex." In response, I had to extract the author's thesis and write about it. Here it is:

"The Puritans and Sex
Puritans have inaccurately acquired the legacy of obedient, abstaining citizens, when in fact, many of them behaved promiscuously and adulterously. Edmund Morgan helped uncover the true Puritanical society and how sex morphed the people. He declared that the Puritans confronted sex practically, and although they tried to prevent inappropriate sexual relationships they had mercy on those who became tangled in the snares of their temptations. Extremely high moral standards set the Puritans up for failure and religious authorities tried to control every part of the Puritan’s lives- including their sexual activities. Sex was expected (even mandated) in the marriage bed, but forbidden elsewhere. If it became apparent that a man was cheating on his wife, it was not uncommon for him to be forced back to his wife “poorer by ten pounds and richer by thirty stripes.” Fornication and adultery “…by far the most numerous class of criminal cases in the records…” ran rampant and sex scandals were common. Corporal punishment was frequently used in the Puritan society of the seventeenth century, and although it was rare, some offenses- sodomy and buggery, for instance- were punished with the death penalty. Many of these offenses occurred because women were far outnumbered by men and people in bondage participated in many sexual interactions out of wedlock. Hence, many illegitimate children were conceived. So much so, that the government devised and enforced child support. Men were forced to pay child support to the mothers of their bastard children, and therefore avoided corporal punishment. Morgan showed the Puritans in a different light then most. They were fallible: humans. The Puritans conceded to their urges and desires and it was their unreachable goals that led to their “failure.” "
I loved it :) It was (at the least) entertaining.