Religion In The Anglo American Colonies 1607-1763 Term Paper

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religion in the Anglo-American colonies between 1607 and 1763. By the time America was on the brink of revolution, religion had altered in American society.

When the first settlers came to America, most of them were strict and pious Puritans who fled England because of their religious beliefs. One writer says of the earliest settlers in New England thought that, "a strong church was the handmaiden and bulwark of a stable state" (Bonomi 13). However, by 1763, there were many more settlers in America than just Puritans, and religious beliefs had changed radically in many areas. The Puritans no longer dominated religion, and there was already a melting pot of cultures, ideals, and religious beliefs. What led to this change? Mostly it was a relaxing of strict Puritanical beliefs blended with an influx of settlers from other countries who brought along their own religions and beliefs.

When America was first settled, the settlements were actually quite far apart. There were planters in Virginia, and Puritans in New England and their lives were quite separate. As the country grew, and more people came to settle the New World, settlements grew, and so did
...More people meant more people from different walks of life, different countries, such as Germany, France, and Holland, and different religious and political beliefs. The Puritans held on to their stronghold in New England for many decades, but things were chancing around them, and their religion began to seem old-fashioned and stodgy to many new immigrants. By the early 1700s, one historian writes of the impression of a visitor to New England. He writes, "And Burnaby, an Anglican, adds as an afterthought: 'The character of the inhabitants of this province is much improved in comparison of what it was, but Puritanism and a spirit of persecution is not yet totally extinguished'" (Wright 328). The Episcopalian Church had grown quite popular in many areas, and there were also influxes of Presbyterians from Scotland and Ireland, Catholics from France and Spain, and many other religions moving to the area from Europe and beyond. Historian Wright continues, "religious conditions in New England and in the other colonies had…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bonomi, Patricia U. Under the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Lippy, Charles H., Robert Choquette, and Stafford Poole. Christianity Comes to the Americas, 1492-1776. 1st ed. New York: Paragon House, 1992.

Niebuhr, H. Richard. "The Protestant Movement and Democracy in the United States." The Shaping of American Religion. Eds. Smith, James Ward and A. Leland Jamison. Vol. 1. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961. 20-71.

Wright, Louis B. The Atlantic Frontier: Colonial American Civilization, 1607-1763. 1st ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1947.

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