Religion In The American Colonies Essay, Research Paper
Religion?s inestimable effects on humanity have surpassed the tests of time. From the time of Adam and Eve to current society, religion has molded man?s views and actions. Religion was important in England and subsequently in her colonies. Settlements were founded and lifestyles were changed, solely in relation to religion. During this time of unceasing change, religious leaders were often at the top of the social ladder, churches were the source of vigor and joy for numerous people, and religion gave people the impetus they needed to question authority and discover their own views. Religion played a dominant role in the creation and life style of many of the colonies.
Religion played a key role in the colonies of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded due to the anti-Puritan actions of Archbishop William Laud, and Charles I’s approval of these discriminations. A group of energetic, faith-driven Puritans settled in a nearby river valley in 1628. These non-separatists wanted to reform the tax-supported Anglican church and, in doing so, become John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill,” showing a good example to other colonies. The colony on the shore of Plymouth Bay was also a Puritan colony, however the Plymouth colony was founded in 1620 by separatists, who wanted to completely isolate themselves from the Anglican church. Compared to other colonies, these two Massachusetts colonies were the most intolerant of other religions, and were also the most concerned with having a government that enforced the rules of God. A good work ethic and simple forms of worship were two of the numerous results of religion’s influence on the lifestyle of the colonists in Massachusetts. In keeping with the reasons for the colonies being founded in the first place, religion was a high priority in the lives of the Puritans in the colonies of Massachusetts.
The Quakers made invaluable contributions to the founding of Pennsylvania and to its ways of life thereafter. “The city of brotherly love” was created in Philadelphia in 1681. William Penn and the Quakers wanted a place to express liberal ideas. The Quakers refused to financially support the church of England. Religion played a vital role in the lifestyles of the people. Simplistic worship carried over into a simple, devoted lifestyle. “All men are equal” was not merely a catch phrase, but a way of living. Real equality between people existed there, and even their language was affected. Years later, Pennsylvania passed the first anti-slavery law. The Quaker religion had a profound effect on Pennsylvania.
In Maryland, which was originally founded as a haven for Catholics, religion proved be a source of disunity. Lord Baltimore’s colony was not successful with its primary goal. Catholics, while somewhat persecuted, were fairly content in England, so few wanted to go through the hazards involved with a transatlantic journey. Lord Baltimore allowed great freedom of worship and, due to the lack of Catholics immigrating to their so-called “haven,” a large number of Protestants came to reside in Maryland. Tension grew between the two religious groups. The Maryland Act of Toleration was passed in 1649, giving freedom to live and worship to all who believed in Jesus Christ. Ironically enough, the result of the law was a lesser degree of tolerance than before. Dissimilar to Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, religion in Maryland created discord and friction amongst the people.
Religion has impacted the lives of many. Entire colonies were to practice various religions. The way people talk and act to each other, their work ethic, architecture, food, recreation, and an innumerable quantity of other aspects of life are affected by religion. The religions of the colonists immeasurably influenced the creation and lifestyles of the colonies.