The Divine Right to Occupy the Land by John Cotton (1630) Web Version: http://www.pragmatism.org/american/docs/cotton_divine_right.htm The placing of…

Long before Christopher Columbus sailed, Europeans had dreamed of a land of abundance, riches, and ease beyond the western horizon.  Once the “discovery” of this New World had taken place, they invented an America of the imagination, projecting onto it their hopes for a better life.  Here, many believed, would arise unparalleled opportunities for riches, or at least liberation from poverty.  Europeans envisioned America as a religious refuge, a society of equals, and a source of power and glory.  They searched the New World for golden cities and fountains of eternal youth.  Some of these dreams would indeed be fulfilled.  To many European settlers, America offered a far greater chance to own land and worship as they pleased than existed in Europe, with its rigid, unequal social order and official churches.  Yet the New World also became the site of many forms of unfree

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