In The Puritan Dilemma we discover Edmund S. Morgan's views of what Puritanism is and how John Winthrop dealt with the dilemma of being a puritan. After receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1942, Edmond S. Morgan taught at the University of Chicago (1945–46) and at Brown (1946–55) before becoming professor of history at Yale (1955). An expert on American colonial history, Morgan writes in a way that appeals to the general reading public while maintaining high scholarly standards. His many books include The Puritan Family, The Stamp Act Crisis, with his wife Helen, The Puritan Dilemma and biographies of Ezra Stiles and Roger Williams. Morgan's work, The Puritan Dilemma, fits into his body of works based on the common thread of history that many of his works shared.
Morgan traces how John Winthrop struggled with the dilemma,first internally, as he dealt with the question of whether traveling to the New World represented a selfish form of “separatism”, the desire to separate himself from an impure England, or whether, as he eventually determined, it offered a unique opportunity to set an example for all men by establishing a purer Christian community in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It seems to have been important to Winthrop and his fellow Puritans that they had the approval of the King and that though they were distancing themselves from the Church of England, they were not actually in turn renouncing it.
Three major themes of The Puritan Dilemma are a series of challenges that stem from the Puritan dilemma itself, which Winthrop describes as, "the paradox that required a man to live in the world without being of it." The overall theme of the book was how to deal with keeping one's own beliefs pure when faced with trials and tribulations.These themes include the question of how the colony was to be governed, the separatism that was occurring within the church, and the beli