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Puritanism was an important force in England. It contributed to the idea of political liberty and democracy and to the development of the "nonconformist conscience." However, in matters of religious life it spent its energies in sharpening distinctions with respect to questions of concern chiefly to students of political theory. In America, Puritans did not spend their energies debating with each other. They marked off the boundaries of new towns, enforced criminal laws, and fought Indians undistracted by theology or metaphysics. Allowing no dissent, they moved single-mindedly to the task of overcoming the unpredictable perils of the wilderness. If English Puritans were the precursors of modern democracy, those in America helped to found a nation. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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