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Religion 14

  • Date Submitted: 04/14/2012 09:38 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 44 
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Many of the British North American colonies that eventually formed the United States of America were settled in the seventeenth century by men and women.   The New England colonies, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland were conceived and established as plantations of religion.   Religion was the powerful force that ultimately shaped the societies of the New England and Chesapeake regions.
In the New England colonies, the dominant Puritan religion shaped the structure of the society in this region.   William Bradford was the English leader of settlers at Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts.   John Winthrop was a wealthy English Puritan lawyer.   He was one of the leaders who found the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which was the first major settlement in New England.   The strictness of Puritan society leads to dissenters such as Roger Williams and Thomas Hooker to find their own colonies.   Puritan society centered on the church and towns with a common practice of primogeniture.  
Contrasting the highly religious New England colonies, the Chesapeake area was much less dependent on religion.   This led to a whole different structured society.   In Jamestown, Virginia there was lack of religion and there were other stabilizing forces that disorganized society without discipline.   In Maryland it was Catholics vs. Protestants which leads to the Toleration Act in 1649.   There were tensions in Anti-Catholic sentiment and in religious toleration to a degree more than anywhere in the world.   Women had greater freedom than their New England counterparts.   There was a lack of churches and less established communities of people live farther away.   There was a growth of plantations with beginnings of slavery.   Education began as a center for theology, such as in the college of William and Mary in Virginia.
Largely because of religion, the development of the New England and Chesapeake colonies came to resemble the highly different societies that emerged in the antebellum period.   In...

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