The Threat Of Anne Hutchinson Essay

The Threat Of Anne Hutchinson Essay

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The Threat of Anne Hutchinson
Seventeenth century England brought about a great deal of religious change. In 1606, when King James came to power, the theology of the Anglican Church drifted towards the idea that individuals could achieve salvation through their actions during life (Wheeler & Becker, 36). The transition to this belief system brought enough controversy to cause one group of reformers to seek a new colony: the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay. Following a more Calvinist theology, this group of people sought to reform the church based on the belief that individuals could not influence the will of God (Lecture, 9/21/15). One of the 14,000 or so puritans who sought out a new life in this new land was Anne Hutchinson. Shortly after her arrival, though, Anne was banished from the Massachusetts Bay colony. Throughout her hearing, the court acted unfairly towards Mrs. Hutchinson; they failed to provide evidence for any rules or laws being broken, yet at the end of her trial she was found guilty. Anne was treated so unfairly because she was seen as a threat to the Massachusetts Bay colony. She defied the expectations that puritan leaders had for the women at the time, and her role in society was so different from the norm that leaders saw her as a potential threat. Because of this, the court felt empowered to put her to trial which would lead to her eventual excommunication and exile.
Mrs. Hutchinson’s interrogation lasted two days. John Winthrop, the governor at the time, along with six other ministers, provided many reasons to prosecute Anne. The court relentlessly attacked Anne from many angles, from breaking the law of God to the law of the state. Interestingly, Mr. Winthrop was unable to support his claims with sufficient ...

... middle of paper ... part of why it was so important for leaders at the time to keep the social structure of the colony the same is because people at the time had little understanding of the concept of change. Today, scholars study history, and from the past can analyze the importance of change. During that time, however, it was common for people to feel like life would never change (Lecture, 9/14/15). This means that even small actions can pose a great threat for a new colony such as Massachusetts Bay. So even though Anne may not have taken the largest actions, she was a leader of change. She defied the expectations that puritan leaders had for the women at the time, and her role in society was so different from the norm that leaders saw her as a potential threat. Because of this, the court felt empowered to put her to trial which would lead to her eventual excommunication and exile.

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