The Reformation provided a major impetus to the colonization of North America in many ways. The first, and a key factor in the development of the United States, had to do with the lack of religious freedom in the Old World. In most parts of Europe and Britain, there were official state churches, and freedom of worship was constrained, and often people not belonging to the state church suffered under various disabilities, such as lack of freedom to attend universities or hold public office. This meant that many Protestants were impelled to emigrate to the New World to find religious freedom and to avoid civic disabilities.
Many Calvinists believed in the importance of establishing communities consisting only of believers in their particular sects; several of the colonies in the United States were established by groups of Puritans who not only wished to be free to practice their own religion but also wanted to be able to create towns under their own strict religious rules.
Some groups, such as Quakers and Anabaptists, who were widely discriminated against in Europe also established colonies in North America for religious freedom.