Protestant Influence On English Literature

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The influence of historical events and various religious beliefs on English literature can be seen in almost every genre. Over time, events such as the Protestant Reformation, the Puritan Revolution , and the Enlightenment have affected works of English literature such as Grace Abounding and Robinson Crusoe. The effects of these events can also be seen in American historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence, which was written in 1776 by Thomas Jefferson. At the time it was written, both England and colonial America were largely Protestant nations. However, due to the English crown using their power to control the American colonies ' trade, law creation, and judicial system , the Declaration outlined numerous reasons for …show more content…
Passages from these texts exemplify the Protestant beliefs that God determines who is saved, via divine providence, and that all men should be allowed liberty of conscience. In Grace Abounding, Bunyan reflects on how God takes care of those elect men who are destined for salvation. He says that "They were within His care, protection and special providence: though they were full as bad as I by nature; yet because He loved them, He would not suffer them to fall without the range of mercy" (Bunyan). The providence of which Bunyan speaks is representative of God 's power over the world and his plan for each person 's salvation, particularly the elect few. Another Protestant view reflected in English literature is the idea of liberty of conscience, which is emphasized in Robinson Crusoe. This can be seen when Robinson is discussing how he governs his island when there are so many different types of people living with him. Friday‒who was Protestant‒lived on the island along with his father, a pagan, and the Papist Spaniard to whom Robinson claims to have "allowed liberty of conscience throughout my domain" (Defoe). This declaration indicates Robinson 's determination to not prosecute each man for his beliefs, letting him believe what he wishes to. This was a very important concept to Protestants at their beginning, as they were frequently prosecuted throughout England for breaking off from the Catholic Church. But Protestant influence on literature went beyond works from the early eighteenth

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