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The Pursuit of Power

Studies in the Vocabulary of Puritanism

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Ellwood Johnson

Puritanism is defined as «a mode of rhetoric which had its inception as a reaction against Romanist and feudal hierarchies in England and then offered itself as a frame for a developing history of ideas in America.» The book analyzes the language of the major historical arguments for and against Puritanism and, in doing so, defines the negative as well as positive influences Puritanism has had on American culture. The arguments concerning Puritanism center around notions of power in the older faculty and Lockeian psychological theories.