American culture is steeped in the hard work and accomplishments of the nation’s pioneering forebears. One of the most ingrained cultural constants and enduring national myths is what Max Weber dubbed the Protestant work ethic. At its core, the Protestant work ethic is the conviction that all work is good, noble, and a demonstration of diligence and duty. It is also an active demonstration of religious devotion and piety, as well as commitment to the perfectibility of the “human condition” at both the material and the spiritual level. This entry examines the origins and legacy of the Protestant work ethic and, specifically, its connection to the Puritans.

Origins of the Protestant Work Ethic

Most historians attribute the origin of the work ethic to Martin Luther. According ...

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