Roger Williams Civic Duty

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Roger Williams and John Eliot on Civic Duty The 1600s were a century in which most European powers seized land in the New World for economic and agricultural gain. However, for the English, their land in “New England” became a safe haven for Puritans and other (viewed) dissenters from England. Certain members of this community began to go beyond the required guidelines as a missionary of the Christian faith. These men did not only strive to better their own communities, but also to spread Christianity to the Native American communities, and establish living standards through the establishment of social responsibility. All of which conform under the overarching title of Civic Duty (the duties or obligations a person has towards his/ her society/…show more content…
(Jarvis 53) Eliot proposed the establishment of Harvard Medical School as an extension to the readily established Harvard University. This School did a great service to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in providing education to budding doctors, thus expanding the Medical profession, and vicariously improving the health of the Colony. This institution beyond Eliot’s contribution helped the Colony for generations to come shows what Eliot had done for his community.(Jarvis 53) To further the former, Harvard was established originally for the education of the Natives, meaning Natives too could attend the Medical School and go on to help their own communities develop their health program. This is relatable to Williams’ aid given to the Native Americans. Williams having a grasp on Western pharmaceuticals gave the Natives these medicines and helped evolve their health program from spiritual to biological. Both Eliot and Williams’ deeds reflect their dedication to the bettering of their communities, (in this case) through education. However, on the religious front, their deeds differ. Eliot is in relentless in his push for Native conversion to Christianity.( Jarvis 59-60)(Jarvis 55) For example he translated the Bible into Algonquin and established Praying Towns for the converts. (Jarvis 46)He believed this was his civic duty due to converting the Natives would “hasten the coming of Christ” and would give them “civilitie” and “elightenment”. Drawing from this evidence Eliot thought the conversion would not only benefit the Natives but also all Christians (in Christs coming). Conversely, Williams did not act in the interest of the Puritan Church, he attempted to diminish the churches power by establishing a Baptist Church in
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