Social and technological change in the seventeenth century brought about the greatest change to a seemingly ordinary concept that everyone experiences everyday- thought. Never before had such an immense change in the thought processes of a mass group of people, quite possibly the world over, occurred. A change in America from the very beliefs that founded the country with European settlers, a change in the world that brought new understanding and logical thinking to the masses, a change so great that its effect has remained permanent throughout the centuries. This change, the American Enlightenment, metamorphosed the manner of thought and furthered the decline of religious thought processes.
Throughout all of history, religion has played an important role in the actions of groups or individuals. Rulers were named in the face of religion, monuments built in honor of deities, scriptures written of holy tales. Lives were lost in the name of religion, both in the sense of martyrs dying for their beliefs and in wars fought for religion, such as the Crusades. In all parts of the world, celebration, mourning, and hostility occurred all because of religion. With the founding of the New World and the founding of European settlements on the shores of North America, the importance of religion would not be lost. In this new land, religion would play just as significant a role as it had in all other parts of the world.
After its early settlement, America had been a very theocratic society. Founded essentially by the Puritans, religion played a strong role in the everyday life of early Americans. Government, education, legal systems, social events, clothing, and home decor were all governed by the regulations of Puritanism. For many years, religion was the basis behind thought in all aspects of life. What these people had was a way of life founded completely on blind faith in religion. The beliefs of predestination determined those who would be damned and those who would be saved before birth.