The role of religion during the early colonial period is explicit in the foundation of Maryland. This settlement, founded by the second Lord Baltimore was primarily founded as a safe haven for the English Catholics, but his efforts failed in this regard and he was forced to admit protestants as well, who quickly became the absolute majority. Soon it became a battleground for Jesuits and Puritans. This even led to a Puritan uprising against the proprietary government. Puritans were also the primary source behind the settlement of New England.
After facing imprisonment and even execution from the Church of England they sought a new land where they can worship freely. They first settled at Plymouth and called themselves Pilgrims. The succession of Charles I compelled more Puritans to leave England and this time they established a settlement in Massachusetts. With Boston as their headquarter, they did not openly dissociate themselves from the Church of England, but the Churches unlike in England chose to stand alone. Here the Puritans tried to establish their “Holy Commonwealth”. Like their Anglican counterparts the Puritans did not tolerate dissidents.
Massachusetts was in fact a theocratic society and non-Puritans were not allowed to vote. Disagreements of dissociating Church from the State led to the foundation of the settlement of Rhode Island. It was also the most liberal of all the colonies. Other dissenting Protestants like the Quakers founded colonies like Pennsylvania. There they developed the most cosmopolitan society of that time. The Spanish-English conflict was not only political but also based on efforts of religious infliction from both sides in the region. After the Glorious Revolution the Maryland Catholic government was toppled by a coup in the name of Protestantism.
The Catholics were forbidden to hold office, vote or practice their religion in public. The arrival of large number of French Jesuits in Mississippi valley sparked tensions between the English and the French settlers. This was one of the primary reasons of the Seven Year’s war, in which the English won a decisive victory over the French. The roots of the American Revolution can also be traced to the Puritan sources, the resentment of the Puritans towards the Anglican Church and their strong position in the colonies led to the ideas of revolt against the British in 1760s crisis.
Recognizing Catholic Church in the Quebec Province also sparked resentment among the 13 English colonies. Rumors of appointment of Bishop of America and Imposing Anglican authority over various American sects also enraged them. During the early days of the Republic, the Constitution of the United States was formed. The Constitution gave equal rights and freedom of worship to nearly every Christian sect in the United States. These liberal views can be traced back to the Jesuits’ movement, which were a strong part of the Northern States, particularly Pennsylvania.
Moreover the Constitution separated the Church from the State formally. This was again against Puritan ideology, and favored Jesuits’ ideology, which clearly indicates how strong and influential this sect had become in the days of the American Revolution. The Civil War was fought on disagreements on the issue of slavery. This disagreement was also because of the difference of religious views of the North and the South. The North, which was largely Puritan and Jesuit strongly, apposed slavery. On the other hand the Anglican South favored it rigorously.
Many abolitionists considered destroying slavery as God’s will. On the other hand the Southerners considered themselves Superior people designated by God a superior role and the Negroes inferior to them, thus unable to protect themselves. The above-mentioned facts clearly explains that religion has played an important role in shaping the history of the United States since the early colonial period to the events leading to the Civil War. Works Cited Brinkley, Alan. “American History: A Survey, Vol. 1, 12th Edition. ”
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