The Puritans, who settled in America in the early 1600s, believed that if they followed God's laws as individuals and as a society, God would prosper them. America would become "the new Israel," God's light for the rest of the world.
The Rev. Dr. George Gatgounis wrote The Puritan View of Substantive Biblical Law both as a constitutional attorney and a biblical scholar. He did much of the research at Harvard, which was founded by the Puritans to train their clergy.
Despite its outward appearance of harshness--such as the dozen transgressions that merited the death penalty in the Massachusetts Bay Colony--Puritan society was founded on the consent of the citizens. At the center was individual spirituality. That spirituality was to be maintained by a strict observance of the Sabbath, which centered around biblical preaching.
Certainly there is no going back to a Puritan society in this postmodern era. But perhaps there is something to be learned to guide our way forward.