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What Role Did Religion Play In European Society In The 1600's

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Religion played a crucial role in European society during the 1600's. Most countries had monarchs who ruled their nation strictly in accordance with their religious principles. Citizens were expected to hold the same religious beliefs as the king or risk severe punishment and persecution. As English migrants colonized North America, citizens who were the religious minority had the opportunity to escape persecution and live a more peaceful life in the New World. Over time, new colonies emerged in the New World to provide colonists the freedom to practice their religion and live a better life without fear of persecution, or banishment. Some colonies, like Massachusetts Bay, were founded by the Puritans to have a better life in the…show more content…
William Penn (founder of Pennsylvania) and Lord Baltimore (founder of Maryland) were granted land in the New World and the power to govern their colonists. Both, Penn, who was Quaker, and Baltimore, who was Catholic, established their colonies as a refuge for their persecuted Englishmen and women, but also accepted people from other religious groups into their colonies. William Penn declared in his Frame of Government (1681) religious freedom by banning an official religion. The Quakers' belief in gender equality and "sitting down lovingly" with others, set the tone for a peaceful and tolerant community open to anyone. Lord Baltimore and his assembly enacted the Toleration Act (1649), which allowed Christians to follow their beliefs and hold their own church services. In Maryland, the settlers were mostly Catholic, while the artisans and laborers, who grew tobacco (the cash crop of the land), were mostly Protestant. The Toleration Act was enacted to enforce peaceful relations between the colonists and stability in the colony's politics and economy. In doing so, the colony's economy continued to prosper, while being open to people of different religions. While the motives for the freedom of religion differed between Pennsylvania and Maryland, each colony thrived in either its community or commerce and accepted
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