Public Figure Profiles

Cotton Mather

Cotton Mather (February 12, 1663 – February 13, 1728) was a New England Puritan clergyman and a prolific writer. Educated at Harvard College, in 1685 he joined his father Increase as minister of the Congregationalist Old North Meeting House of Boston, where he continued to preach for the rest of his life. A major intellectual and public figure in English-speaking colonial America, Cotton Mather helped lead the successful revolt of 1689 against Sir Edmund Andros, the governor imposed on New England by King James II. Mather's subsequent involvement in the Salem witch trials of 1692–1693, which he defended in the book Wonders of the Invisible World (1693), attracted intense controversy in his own day and has negatively affected his historical reputation. As a historian of colonial New England, Mather is noted for his Magnalia Christi Americana (1702).

Personally and intellectually committed to the waning old social and religious orders in New England, Cotton Mather unsuccessfully sought the presidency of Harvard College, an office that had been held by his father Increase, another significant Puritan clergyman and intellectual. After 1702, Cotton Mather clashed with Joseph Dudley, the governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, whom Mather attempted unsuccessfully to drive out of power. Mather championed the new Yale College as an intellectual bulwark of Puritanism in New England. He corresponded extensively with European intellectuals and received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of Glasgow in 1710.A promoter of the new experimental science in America, Cotton Mather carried out original research on plant hybridization and on the use of inoculation as a means of preventing smallpox contagion. He dispatched many reports on scientific matters to the Royal Society of London, which elected him as a fellow in 1713. Mather's promotion of inoculation against smallpox, which he had learned about from an African man named Onesimus whom Mather held as a slave, caused violent controversy in Boston during the outbreak of 1721. Scientist and US founding father Benjamin Franklin, who as a young Bostonian had opposed the old Puritan order represented by Mather and participated in the anti-inoculation campaign, later described Mather's book Bonifacius, or Essays to Do Good (1710) as a major influence on Franklin's own life.

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Some of their strengths

Cotton Mather has many admirable traits.

Based on spiritual traditions from around the world, they are someone who can be described as Generous, Energetic, Perseverent, Selfless, Altruistic, Optimistic, and Brave.

Idealistic and Altruistic

According to Mysticism’s Astrology tradition, Cotton Mather is someone who is an idealist and an altruist who possesses an innovative, intellectual, and analytical mind, and who approaches life in an optimistic and easygoing manner. A person who is ambitious and motivated.

Strong and Resilient

Based on Daoism’s Ba-Zi or ‘Chinese Zodiac’ tradition, people who know Cotton Mather well know them as someone who can be strong, expansive, and stable like a big tree.

Productive and Perseverent

According to Hinduism’s Jyotisha or ‘Vedic Astrology’ tradition, many would also describe Cotton Mather as someone who is productive, persevering, deliberate, and direct.

A person who is creative, has good luck with work and money, good listening skills, good relationships with people at work, is a good teacher or counselor, and who is good at organizing groups, teams, or causes.

Realistic and Skillful

Based on the Mayan Tzolk’in or ‘Mayan Astrology’ tradition, Cotton Mather is someone who is able to separate emotions from reality, see the world in terms of right or wrong, and who is very good at getting things done.

They are also someone who is charismatic, compassionate, and understanding, and who is interested in expressing themselves through writing, public speaking, or teaching.

Altruistic and Innovative

According to Judaism’s Kabbalah tradition, Cotton Mather tends to be someone who sacrifices things for the good of others and wants to do "good" in the world. Who is often thought of as an innovator or rebel who thrives when trying to chase a breakthrough of some sort, who has a clear and sound mind, and who can be charming and sociable.

Some of Cotton Mather's challenges

While Cotton Mather has many strengths, nobody is perfect. They also have some challenging traits they need to manage.

For example, Cotton Mather can be Stubborn, Rebellious, Short-tempered, Emotionally Distant, Impulsive, Idle, and Possessive.

Rebellious and Emotionally Distant

One of Cotton Mather's key challenges is that they are someone who can be rebellious and emotionally distant.

Cotton Mather must also exercise caution as they can be short-tempered and aggressive.

Possessive and Stubborn

Cotton Mather is someone who can be possessive, jealous, inflexible, and stubborn, can have a habit of being a frivolous spender, and who can feel insecure or cynical in romantic relationships and have difficulty forming productive personal and professional partnerships.

Serious and Callous

Finally, Cotton Mather also can be too giving, come across as too "high and mighty", and can have a hard time expressing feelings.

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