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Religion In Early America Essay

1009 words - 5 pages

Religion and government in England had always gone hand in hand, and if one group’s ideas did not coincide with England’s laws controlling the practice of religion they would be denied. The unification of church and state within European countries led to many wars, resulting in massive debt. As England declared themselves a Catholic country, Protestants who did not hold the same beliefs needed a new homeland where they could be free to worship in their own way. This new homeland was America, and it allowed Protestants, now calling themselves Puritans, to practice Christianity without government interference. While original settlers came to America to create a Christian homeland where they ...view middle of the document...

This was groundbreaking at the time, because education and literacy was extremely low in most households, and because this led to the creation of higher education. Yet, as more and more people began to read the bible many of them interpreted it in a different way. This did not sit well with the Puritans, so anyone who disagreed with their practices would be removed from their holy land. When a large group of followers are removed from a colony, and there is an abundance of land available, what else to do but create a new colony that was accepting of various religious beliefs.
One man who was banished from the Puritans in Massachusetts for interpretting the bible differently was Roger Williams. Roger Williams and his followers established a new colony, Providence Rhode Island, where he made certain they would not only respect the rights of Native Americans, they would be tolerant of anyone’s religious beliefs. This was made clear in a letter Williams released to Providence in 1655 stating “ It hath fallen out sometimes, that both Papists and Protestants, Jews, and Turks, may be embarqued into one Ship” (222). Williams recognised and embraced the fact that not all people practice the same faith, or do not practice at all, and any colony that wished to survive would need to offer freedom for all types of religion. Later in his letter Williams wrote “none of the Papists, Protestants, Jews, or Turks, be forced to come to the Ships Prayers or Worship; nor, secondly, compelled from their own particular Prayers or Worship, if they practice any” (222). Williams even set up plantations within Providence as a refuge for anyone who was exiled from their home for religious reasons (111). being one of the first 13 colonies in America, set a new standard for religious tolerance and changed colonial life for the better.
Anne Hutchinson, another colonist living with the Puritans in Massachusetts, was also banished from her home for having non Puritan beliefs....

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