Massachusetts Bay Colony

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What is Anne Hutchinson most known for?

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Anne Hutchinson is best known for her role in advancing feminist and religious ideas in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early decades of its colonization. Anne was the wife of a prominent merchant and mother of fifteen children. She made a name for herself in challenging the accepted order laid out in her Puritan community.

Anne Hutchinson regularly held meetings in her home with other women in Boston. There, they discussed ideas that challenged the patriarchal elements of her rigid Puritan society. She also challenged several theological tenets of her church and argued that salvation comes from God's grace alone, not through the strict adherence of religious law. Her talks became so popular that soon men were joining her discussions.

This greatly upset the Puritan leadership in Boston. They argued that she was overstepping her bounds as a woman and leading others down this seditious path. Her claims of having directly heard God's message would cause her to be branded as a heretic. As a result, she and her husband were excommunicated and forced to leave the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Today, Anne Hutchinson is remembered as one of the first feminists in what would become the United States. Through the lens of history, Anne Hutchinson has become known as someone set on disrupting a social order that was oppressive to women. She has come to be viewed as an assertive woman who made herself a public presence in a heavily patriarchal society. Furthermore, since religion and the government were one and the same in New England during the 17th century, she has become known as a champion of religious liberty and the separation of church and state.

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