While it is usually taught that America was founded by those seeking religious freedom from England, the truth is that a number of English colonies were not exactly religiously tolerant themselves. Colonies like Massachusetts and Connecticut which were typically governed by Puritans were widely known for banishing people who challenged their beliefs on religion. However, colonies like Maryland and Rhode Island would be surprisingly tolerant of religion. Take the ‘Maryland Act Concerning Religion’, for example. Under Maryland law the only way that someone would be excluded from religious freedom was if they committed Blasphemy, by denouncing the facts of the bible. (p.28 line 5) Maryland was an extremely tolerant state, one that was rare to come by in the Seventeenth Century. Their law stated that as long as someone accepted Jesus Christ as God’s son that they were not to be persecuted. (p.28 line 21) Contrary to Maryland, Massachusetts was not tolerant of other religions and when individuals like Anne Hutchinson spoke out criticizing the majority religion there would be consequences. Hutchinson was accused of going against the Puritan church as she believed that the Church was not properly testifying the word of God. (p.38 line 19) Given the fact that Hutchinson was banished from Massachusetts following her case (p.39 line 22) it is clear that most of the English colonies were not necessarily religiously tolerant....
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...cal movement. In The Agreement of the People, the Levellers offered the first glimpse what we now know as freedom within democracy. The Levellers had a vision for a representative government chosen by the people, which the colonies would eventually adopt after gaining their Independence from England. The House of Burgesses, which would be the first legislative assembly of elected representatives in the colonies, is an indirect effect of The Agreement of the People.
Some English colonies certainly struggled before the 1700s with gender, religion, and liberty. Whether it be the mistreatment of women, the lack of religious tolerance within some colonies, or simply the absence of liberty from colonial authority. These flaws along with the documents within Chapter 2 of Voices of Freedom help justify that English colonies were not as successful as they are made out to be.
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