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What did Massachusetts gain by banishing Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson?

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harkamalkaur123 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:06 PM via web

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What did Massachusetts gain by banishing Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 16, 2012 at 12:58 AM (Answer #1)

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From the Puritan point of view, the banishment of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson effectively silenced two prominent voices of dissent.  The leadership of Massachusetts gained short term strength in being able to show how its supposed pursuit of spiritual purity through social and political means overrides individual objection.  It also helped to establish a binary system in which one either stands with the Status Quo or faces tremendous consequences.  Both Williams and Hutchinson raise significant issues that would eventually challenge and dislodge the spiritual power authority of the Puritans.  Williams is one of the first to raise the idea that the spiritual pursuit of the Puritans must exist outside the realm of governmental policy. In suggesting that the Charters on which the Colonies were founded lacked sufficient authority to take lands from the Native Americans as well as the idea of a "wall of separation" between religious beliefs and political policy, Williams raises objections that are challenged through events such as the Salem Witch Trials.  Hutchinson suggests that a more personalized notion and subjective connection with the divine is possible, threatening the overall position of church hierarchy.  This is a tenet seen in the Second Great Awakening and the Age of Reform.  In both expulsions, the fundamental position of the Puritan government is revealed to be a tenuous one which might have reaped short term benefits, but pivoted itself into a position for long term challenge.

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