Social Deviance in American Society

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The freedom to think for oneself is an essential quality of human nature. To lack this freedom is to lack morality, individuality, and overall humanity. Today, our ability to be freethinkers is constantly being tested; our lives are assaulted on a daily basis by relentless advertising and shameless consumerism. In the 17th Century, religion was the driving force that challenged people's freedom of thought.

The Puritans of the 1630s added a new element of religious and social intolerance to America, expanding on the blueprint created by the Pilgrims. Known for their strict, repressive society, the Puritans barred all forms of deviation within their community, as described in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Set in the mid-1600s, The Scarlet Letter epitomizes the religious intolerance of Puritan society. By the mid-1800s, however, the religious fervor that had been so prevalent two centuries ago was gone, replaced by the ideals of Transcendentalism. Henry David Thoreau helped to propel this movement, expressing his own deviance through writing. "Civil Disobedience  argues against the legitimacy of government and laws,

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