Religion in America Essay

Religion in America Essay

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Religious practice officially commenced in North America in 1620, when a group of Separatists alighted in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Although Jamestown Virginia, established ten years earlier, equaled the first English site in North America, the Separatist's settlement comprised the first religious element. Believing that the Anglican church was corrupted beyond redemption, the Separatists had isolated themselves from it and then fled to Holland to escape the ensuing persecution. Unfortunately, the Separatists soon became unsatisfied with Holland's low moral standards. They wished for a completely fresh start and so they started anew in a new world.
To the Separatists, Christianity constituted a fundamental element of life. Their strong biblical foundation generated a society with laws that strictly followed Biblical principles. Furthermore, their religious fervor incited them to smother all signs of religious dissent. These austere measures may seem appalling at first, but they are justified when one recalls the Separatist's intentions. The reason the Separatists absconded from England was so that they could create an ideal and unified church. John Winthrop aptly stated the Separatist's goals when he said “wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill,” (Hutson, 7). In the light of this concept it is easy to understand the Separatist's reasoning. In essence, a city upon a hill can not be filled with dissenters.
Since the aforementioned religious tactics forced Separatist dissenters to leave the Plymouth community, it follows that these same rules would ban other denominations from the settlement and compel them to institute separate colonies in the New World. Some such people were the Quakers, and Catholics.
The Quakers were a relig...


... middle of paper ...


...minant denominations replacing the Anglicans, Quakers, and Congregationalists.
The effects of the Great Awakening on American culture endured long after its proper end. For example, mini Great Awakenings materialized for years after the fact and were still transpiring when the Revolutionary War occurred. Although these revivals were not characterized by the drama and grandeur of the Great Awakening, they were nevertheless successful in convincing many colonists to return to their faith. Furthermore, after the Great Awakening, ministers possessed immense status and commanded abundant respect among their congregants. Specifically, the new emotional factors in religion gave the ministers increased influence over their congregants. The aforementioned components cause many scholars to conclude that the War for Independence was generated in part by the Great Awakening.

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