Saturday, September 15, 2007

#2 What role did religion play in the establishment of the English colonies in North America?

Religion served as a motive for colonization, as well as a form of government, and a reason for conflict. Colonies like Plymouth, Maryland, and Massachusetts were dominated by religion and were established solely for that purpose. Other colonies were more liberal. Nonetheless, their establishment was triggered by religion.

Maryland was founded in 1634. It was a place for Catholics to freely practice Catholicism. Similarly, Plymouth was founded for religion in 1623 by the Pilgrims. They disagreed with the church in England, and so they wanted to leave it. They were separatists and extremely conservative.

In contrast to the Pilgrims, the Puritans did not want to separate from the church but rather reform it. They founded Massachusetts Bay in 1628. The Puritans were strict, and so established the Blue laws. These were rules on how to behave. They wanted religious freedom, but only for Puritans. Therefore, they banned Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams for disagreeing and voicing their opinions against Puritan beliefs.

This lead to the establishment of Rhode Island. I was more liberal than other colonies. This allowed it to achieve freedom of opportunity. In addition, Rhode Island also had complete freedom of religion, and was populated by people of all religions. The Puritans, in turn, called it "the sewer', where rotted debris went. Pennsylvania, founded by William Penn in 1681, also had liberal qualities. Although Jews and Catholics were not allowed to vote or hold office, it did feature freedom of worship. In addition, Pennsylvania had no restrictions on immigration or naturalization.

Religion played an immense role in the establishment of colonies. In addition to being the reason for the founding Plymouth, Maryland, and Massachusetts, it created the conflict that eventually founded Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. Religion established the colonies that are still present today. It served as a bridge to the New World.

1 comment:

Mr. Brush said...


Pretty good essay, better than most but there were a couple of things I was hoping you'd do better with. First is the the last sentence in the opening paragraph-"Nonetheless..." It's a distracts from the thesis, and it's not necessary. Secondly and more importantly, even though I asked for 5 paragraphs, it would have been better to elaborate regarding the role of religion in each of the colonies you mentioned. One of your classmates wrote too much about the specific colonies. Yours was not the opposite but you could have said more.
5 paragraphs is the average (for average writers!) You are not an average writer. :)