How do you account for the fact that while there existed religious freedom in some colonies, it was denied in other colonies?
I know that the Spanish believed religious uniformity was essential in order for a society to flourish. The Puritans, ironically, were opposed to religious freedom, for it violated their central believes. And others, like Roger Williams, believed in a separation of the church and state. Are there any other reasons for this?
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All of the colonies exhibited religious freedom to some extent, empowering some religious groups more than others. Based on the beliefs of the sponsoring governments or, more often, businesses or partnerships that were financing the settlement and development of a particular colony, religious groups that were favored were given a greater degree of freedom than groups whose tenets were not in line with the sponsors' beliefs.
The areas first settled by immigrants from France, Portugal, and Spain brought their Roman Catholic beliefs with them. Florida was heavily Catholic as a result. Areas further north were settled by varied groups, each of which largely established its predominant faith as being the official church of the corresponding colony. Other faiths were accepted or tolerated to varying degrees. Maryland, as influenced by Roger Williams, was the only colony to specifically incorporate the idea of separation of church and state from the beginning, extending complete religious freedom to persons of all faiths.
The particular groups that were accepted in a given area were determined by the heritage and beliefs of the settlers and sponsors of that settlement. If those beliefs were intolerant of differences, the religious tolerance of the new colony was not very lenient; if the first residents were willing to accept differences in beliefs and practices, the colony allowed for and welcomed a wider variety of faiths.
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