Religion In Early History Of The United States History 120 Midterm Essay

1168 words - 5 pages

Religious freedom has played a significant role in the history of the United States. Europeans came to America escaping from religious oppression and forced beliefs by Christian churches as the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. The people’s dissatisfaction fueled the desire of America’s forefathers to establish the organization of a country in which the separation of church and state, and the freedom to practice one’s faith without fear of persecution was guaranteed. That promise was written in the First Amendment to the Constitution as, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” (Nash, p. 445). The breakdown of Christianity resulted in hundreds of denominations of that faith. The U.S. was the first nation known to be controlled by Protestants and not Roman Catholics. In fact, this expresses America’s willingness to experiment and change the tradition. Such has been the winding road of religious evolution in America that includes religious devotion and opening the door to mysterious religions.
Religious persecution in Europe began to loosen its hold in the 16th century when, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany. In the book, “Annual Editions, United States History” it is mentioned that “Like Martin Luther, who objected to Word of God transmitted to laypeople via a priestly scholar of Latin, Stowe recognized that secondhand knowledge of the Bible was acceptable when nothing else was available, but inferior to direct apprehension of Scripture” (Annual, p. 131-132). On the other side, King Henry VIII founded the Church of England, owing to disagreements regarding papal authority. In later attempts to free themselves from the tie of the state governmental system imposed by the Anglican Church, such denominations as the Reformed-Presbyterian churches and the European Free Church were formed. According to the Annual textbook, it is point out that, “As immigrants flocked to the newly Revolutionized America, Land of the Free, they brought with them in full force: Religion. Though there were many denominations and various forms, in them all was a common theme: the God-given Divinity of gender inequality and difference” (Annual, p. 127). These religions made possible the next wave of Christian denominations. Reforms were brought by the Puritans to the American colonies with the purpose of “purify” the Anglican Church led to the creation of the Baptists and Congregationalists in America. However, further splintering occurred between the Methodists, Pentecostals, Fundamentalists and Adventists.
Even though its methods have changed dramatically, Evangelism has played an essential part in the history of religion in America, from colonial times to the present. It is stated that, “In 1739, these regional brushfires of evangelicalism were drawn together by a 24-year-old Anglican priest from England, George Whitefield… [He]...

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