Isolationism: United States History

a steady theme with widely differing motivations

The Pilgrims and the Puritans - "Leave us Alone"

The Pilgrims left England for Holland for a more understanding country to practice their religion, that ran afoul of the Church of England. However, Pilgrim leaders soon became concerned of the cultural effects that living in Holland was having on their children. That is, there was concern that Pilgrim children were becoming too "Dutchified". So in 1620 the Pilgrims set out to become part of the colony of Virginia - and missed. Thus began the Plymouth Colony, "a civil body politic", a place for those who rejected the Church of England and European cultural influences.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony was established was in 1628 for those who wanted to purify the Church of England (Puritans). Jon Winthrop in his sermon, "A Model of Christian Charity" saw Massachusetts Bay as becoming,

" a City upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. Soe that if we shall deal

falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw

his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the


However, the Puritans themselves were intolerant to the point of intensifying their isolationism and shunning Anglicans, Quakers, Baptists ...

Additionally,the Puritans fought viciously in the Pequot War (1636-1638) and King Phillip's War (1675-1678).

Major Actions of Neutrality

Isolationism in the 1930s