The life of John Davenport, who co-founded the colony of New Haven, has long been overshadowed by his reputation as the most draconian of all Puritan leaders in New England—a reputation he earned due to his opposition to many of the changes that were transforming New England in the post-Restoration era. In this first biography of Davenport, Francis J. Bremer shows that he was in many ways actually a remarkably progressive leader for his time, with a strong commitment to education for both women and men, a vibrant interest in new science, and a dedication to promoting and upholding democratic principles in his congregation at a time when many other Puritan clergymen were emphasizing the power of their office above all else.
Bremer’s enlightening and accessible biography of an important figure in New England history provides a unique perspective on the seventeenth-century transatlantic Puritan movement.
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Even while the minister’s private life remains tantalizingly remote (did he, indeed, suffer from venereal disease?), Bremer nicely situates Davenport’s story within the larger English world of the Protectorate and Restoration, among his better-known colonial contemporaries like John Winthrop, Ann...Sep 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Building a New Jerusalem: Joh...