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Religious Freedom in American Colonies

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The extent of religious freedom in the British American colonies was at a moderate amount. Although colonies such as Virginia and Massachusetts had little to no religious freedom, there were colonies such as Pennsylvania and Rhode Island that had a certain degree of tolerance for other religions. With Virginia being Anglican with its laws, Massachusetts having puritans and separatists, Rhode Island having Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, and Pennsylvania having William Penn along with Quakers, it was inevitable for religious tolerance to be expressed in different directions.

Religious freedom in the Virginia Colony was at a very small or zero amount because of the Anglican religion and the strict rules that were applied on the colony. Virginia was established for the sole reason of commerce or economic factors. Because of its Anglican influence, tolerance for other religions was nonexistent with the prohibition of other religions and ideas. Laws were applied that were based on the factor of religion and if they were disobeyed, it would result from whipping to exile to death.

Massachusetts Bay Colony consisted mainly of Puritans and Separatists which resulted with the same sum of little to no religious freedom. Although Massachusetts was establish for commercial venture, the main reason was for the religious refuge from the Anglican Church in England. When they were in England, William Laud intended to bring them to a heel by removing ministers with puritan leadings and threatened church elders with such ministers and it resulted in a puritan mass migration to America. The puritans or separatists had a strong hold of their religious faith and did not allow for other ideals or other religions. For example, Roger Williams went against the church by saying that magistrates should have no voice in spiritual matters and that everyone including the king should pay the Indians for the taken land and that ended in the exile of him.

Rhode Island was the start for the allowance of religious tolerance since it had such a high degree of it because of the certain ideals of Roger Williams and other people. Rhode Island was established in America in 1644 after Roger Williams obtained a charter for it after being exiled from Massachusetts Bay Colony. The government was relatively democratic which allowed for tolerance for all religions and the church and state were separated. Anne Hutchinson also migrated to Rhode Island after



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