The Conservative Undergroundby Robert Maynard
Americans have historically taken a great deal of pride in their tradition of the protection of individual rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. What is less well known is that the constitutional protection of individual rights represents the legal codification of principles that developed over a period of 180 years. That was the period of time between the first Pilgrim settlers and the establishment of the U.S. Constitution. During that time the "Puritans" set up Churches, schools, a university system, charitable institutions and pretty much created an American Civilization defined by a distinct worldview regarding human nature and the relationship of the individual to society. This worldview culminated in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
The word "Puritan" here is used in the broadest sense to include Presbyterian and Congregational Calvinists, as well as Methodists, Baptists, Quakers and some other groups. The unifying theme, be they separatists or nonseparatists, was a desire to "purify" the Church and enjoy the freedom to worship as they saw fit and to set up communities governed by the principles derived from their religious ideals. More: http://conservativesunderground.us/cu34.pdf