20+ Differences Between Puritans and Quakers (Explained)

The Puritans and Quakers were two distinct religious groups that emerged during the colonial period in America. While both sought religious freedom, their beliefs and practices differed significantly.

Puritans, known for their strict adherence to Calvinist doctrines, emphasized predestination and the importance of living a morally upright life, while Quakers, guided by their inner “inner light” or direct connection to God, rejected formal religious structures and advocated for equality and peace.

These differing ideologies shaped their respective communities and influenced the development of early American society.

Puritans And Quakers – Comparison

EqualityTraditional gender roles; only men held positions of authority, including ministers.Quakers, on the other hand, were committed to equality.
DiscriminationNative Americans were subjected to discrimination by the Puritans.Quakers aided Native Americans through schools and empowered them in positions of authority.
AmericansThey were discriminatory and displayed an air of superiority toward them.They had no problem with the Native Americans coming to visit.
Services in the churchThe Puritans held their religious services within the building that later bore their name.They sought silence, avoiding church and gathering in peaceful places.
BeliefsCalvinist theology is strictly adhered to.The emphasis is on “inner light” and direct encounters with God.
WorshipWorship sessions that are formal and structured.Simpleness and casual gatherings.
AuthorityThe Bible is the final authority in all issues.God’s inner counsel and personal revelation.
difference between puritans and quakers

What Are Puritans?

The Puritans were a group of English Protestants who sought to cleanse the Church of England from within during the 16th and 17th centuries.

They believed in rigorous adherence to Calvinist theology and emphasized the authority of the Bible in all aspects of life. The Puritans sought to eradicate what they saw as Catholic remains and to foster a simpler, more disciplined, more pious style of worship.

They played an essential role in the colonization of America and had a long-lasting impact on the early American colonies’ social, religious, and political fabric.

Key Difference: Puritans

  • 1 The Puritans held the conviction that everybody was a sinner, and the only good people were the ones who followed their beliefs.
  • 2 The Puritans believed that the fundamentals of Christianity had to be taught by the church’s ministers, and they practiced baptism according to their guidelines.
  • 3 The Puritans adhered to a rigid and hierarchical ecclesiastical structure.
  • 4 The Puritans believed they must perform their religious services exclusively within churches.
  • 5 Puritans did not believe in gender equality. 
  • 6 They adhered so tightly to the preconceived notions of gender roles that they prevented women from participating in church activities or casting votes.
  • 7 The way they engaged with the indigenous peoples was also distinct. 
  • 8 They were discriminated against by the Puritans, who did not see them as being on equal footing with themselves.
features of puritans

What Are Quakers?

Quakers, also known as the Religious Society of Friends, are a religious sect that formed in 17th-century England.

They believe in the presence of an “inner light” or direct experience of God within each individual, as founded by George Fox.

Quakers oppose traditional religious rituals and hierarchies, preferring simplicity, equality, and pacifism. They value social justice, humanitarian initiatives, and nonviolent conflict resolution.

Quakers were influential in promoting religious liberty and campaigning for social reforms such as abolitionism and women’s rights.

Key Difference: Quakers

  • 1 The Quakers held the belief that God blesses and cleanses all people equally.
  • 2 The Quakers did not practice baptism and did not believe in the practice of sacraments.
  • 3 Quakers enjoyed the freedom of religion and were not required to adhere to laws they either did not believe in or considered unjust.
  • 4 The Quakers typically did not go to the churches where the services were being held since they preferred to hold their services in more private settings. 
  • 5 The Quakers had ceased attending church services because they found all the serenity and comfort they needed in their silent gatherings.
  • 6 In the case of Quakers, this was not the situation.
  • 7 The Quakers accorded equal value to all members of society and strongly emphasized achieving gender parity.
  • 8 The Native Americans and their religious practices were welcomed with open arms by the Quakers.
features of quakers

What Is The Difference Between Puritans And Quakers?


  • Puritans- The Puritans believed all of humanity was fatally corrupt.
  • Quakers- Quakers, on the other hand, believed that God could be found within anyone.


  • Puritans- The Puritans believed that most people were bound for an eternity of damnation, while God had chosen a select few to be saved.

    The predestined few underwent a spiritual transformation due to their witnessing and holy conduct during the process.
  • Quakers- The Quakers believed that each individual possessed an “inner light” that enabled them to see people in the most optimistic light possible.


  • Puritans- Baptism and Holy Communion were two practices that were very important to the Puritans.
  • Quakers- Because Quakers believed that all actions could become sacred if they were dedicated to God, they did not place a significant amount of importance on any sacrament.


  • Puritans- The religious services of the Puritans were quite lengthy. Throughout them, a minister would explain passages from the Bible while also calling attention to the misdeeds of people in attendance.
  • Quakers- Meetings were hosted by Friends rather than services in churches. They had no clergy, so they just referred to their gathering location as “the meeting house.”


  • Puritans– Puritans adhered to a strict system where only men could vote for church officials. Anyone wishing to leave the Puritan society needed permission from the local church or risked losing all their possessions.
  • Quakers- On the other hand, Quakers enjoyed greater latitude in their religious practices. It was one of the earliest religious organizations to open its doors to female members and enable them to assume positions of authority within the congregation.


  • Puritans- The Puritans founded their legal system on the principles that they derived from the Bible and their religious convictions.
  • Quakers- The Bible served as a guide and point of reference for members of the Quaker faith.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What was it about the Roman Catholic Church that the Puritans didn’t like?

Puritans in England in the 16th and 17th centuries saw in Catholicism the worship of idols, the accumulation of wealth, and a disregard for God’s purpose.

Only after they had formally separated from the Roman Catholic Church did the Puritans realize that the Church of England still contained too many vestiges of its predecessor. They felt that it should be changed.

What did the Puritans believe about social and moral issues?

Puritans upheld stringent moral rules such as temperance, modesty, and hard work. They preserved traditional gender norms, emphasized education, and instilled a feeling of community responsibility in their followers.

Were Puritans and Quakers involved in politics?

Puritans played an active political role, shaping local governance and laws based on their religious beliefs. Quakers, while not as politically inclined, were committed to social justice and participated in political activism.

What impact did Puritans and Quakers have on education?

Puritans valued education and established schools to ensure people could read the bible. Quakers supported education and advocated for the education of both boys and girls.

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