The Puritans of 17th-century England have been blamed for everything from the English civil war to the rise of capitalism. But who were the Puritans of Stuart England? Were they apostles of liberty, who fled from persecution to the New World? Or were they intolerant fanatics, intent on bringing godliness to Stuart England? This study provides a narrative of the rise and fall of the Puritans across the 17th-century. Their story is placed in context by analytical chapters, which describe what the Puritans believed and how they organized their religious and social life. The book quotes many contemporary sources, including sermons.