Historical Context in The Minister's Black Veil
The story takes place in the Puritan town of Milford, Massachusetts. The Puritans were a powerful religious and political force in the 16th century. They emerged when certain Protestants were not satisfied with Henry VIII’s Church of England. Those that segregated became known as Puritans because they wanted the church to return to its “purest” state. Hawthorne uses the Puritans and their strict adherence to biblical teachings to provide contextual framing for the story.