The New England colonies contained the current states of Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. The Massachusetts (including Maine), Connecticut, and New Hampshire colonies were overwhelmingly populated by Puritans. These Puritans had sought refuge from religious persecution in England and engaged in a strict religious life while in New England. The Puritan religion itself was often integrated into political and social life, with Puritan-dissenters and proselytizers of other religions experiencing persecution at the hands of the Puritans. Reports of Baptists being whipped and Quakers having their ears cropped (which was an action that, in earlier times in England, had been used as a mark of outlawry, denying legal protection to the individual) show the intolerance of Puritan New England towns towards dissenters. However, punishments were inconsistently applied, and for dissenters or followers of other religions that were not outspoken, persecution was minimal.
Rhode Island was an outlier because it was founded by Roger Williams, who was exiled from the Massachusetts Colony. Williams was strong believer in religious liberty, and after his exile, he led his followers to the Narragansett Bay, where they purchased land from Native Americans. This led to the establishment of the Rhode Island Colony, which acted as a haven for Quakers, Baptists, Jews, and other individuals who had been persecuted for their religion.