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Colonial America

What were ways in which religion shaped the development of colonial society?


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Answered 2013-05-08 01:25:04

Religious Freedom One of the many factors for the colonial societies to be formed was freedom of religion. And everytime a new religion was made a new colonial society seemed to pop up. The way it was a factor was because religion and government where tied together and the King of England was appointed by GOD. Religious preference helped form some states like Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. Catholics prodominately ruled my state of Maryland. To get away from the religious ways of England the colonies of England and other countries started popping up. Religion wasn't the only factor but it sure was a main one. Summary: Religion greatly shaped the growth of colonial life in North America. Religion shaped economic development in the colonies, as much money was spent on building churches and church-related programs. Religion affected the development of colonial society, as many communities practiced the same religion and that religion played an important role in the community. And religion impacted colonial political development, as church and state were originally inseparable. ---- Religion greatly shaped the growth of the colonial life in North America. The King of England forced all English people to attend his church, the Church of England, which at that time was a Protestant Church. All other religions were forced to be practiced secretly, and were oppressed by Protestant people. Christians, Quakers, Puritans, and many other religions, were desperate to find a way to freely practice their religion. These people soon started moving to North America, where they had complete religious freedom. For these people being able to practice their religion freely affected the development of the colonial society economically, socially, and politically. Firstly, religion influenced the way the economy grew in the colonies. Since, religion was so important to the people of the colonies, and in many instances, the reason they moved to America, the way these people spent their money reflected that. Much money was spent on building churches throughout the colonies. For example, George Calvert founded the colony Terra Maria, after the King of England's Catholic wife. The Colony, now called Maryland, is where hundreds of Catholics settled, to find religious freedom. Since the whole colony was of Catholic decent, many churches were built early on in the development of the colony, which cost the colonists a great deal of money. Another example of how religion affected the economy throughout the colonies was the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening was the Church's attempt to bring those who wandered from the church back. Ministers, Priests, and religious advocates of all religions, published books, built more churches, and created programs to bring people back to the church. The thousands of books published and sold created a great economic growth for the Church, and enabled them to spend more money building more churches. This illustrates how religion was so prominent the colonists' lives that it had a large effect on how the economy grew in the development of the colonial societies. Secondly, religion played an important role in how the colonial societies developed socially. For instance, William Penn led the long oppressed Puritans from England to Pennsylvania, where they created their settlement. The colony was comprised solely of Puritans. This greatly affected how the people lived, and interacted with one another. Since all the people practiced the same religion, religion gained a more important role in life, and many traditions were built around every day activities. For example, since all the people living in Plymouth were Puritans, they practiced and shared the same beliefs. Having the same belief system enabled the people of the community to get along easily, which resulted in a closer-knit community. This did not just happen with the Puritans, but also the Christian communities, the Quaker communities, and all communities that shared religion in common. Religion was so important in the lives of these colonists, that it greatly affected the social development of the colonial society. Lastly, and most importantly, religion had a considerable effect on the way the colonial society developed politically. For instance, John Winthrop was a religious leader to the Puritans and led them to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, where he became their governor. Since he was both their political and religious leader, religion and politics were one in the same throughout the colony. Many religious beliefs and ways became laws throughout the colony. For instance, when Ann Hutchinson and her followers, went against some traditional Puritan beliefs, and claimed that state laws could not win God's love and favor, and that God communicated to people even if they were not public and church officials, she was thrown out of the colony. Her followers became known as the Antinomianists, which meant "those against the law." Her different religious beliefs were not allowed by the state, because the state and Puritan church were one in the same. The closeness between the church and state became an increasing problem, and eventually lead to Roger Williams's idea of separating the two. Rhode Island, the colony that Roger Williams founded, was the first colony to separate the church and government. Williams's ideas of separating Church and state allowed people to practice their beliefs in any colony, and eventually was used in the Constitution of the United States of America. The partnership of church and state shows how prominent religion was in influencing the growth of politics. In conclusion, religion was important in the economic, social, and political development of colonial societies. A considerable amount of money was spent by every colony on churches, books, and bringing people back to the church, which had a great effect on the early economics of each colony. Socially, religion affected the daily lives of people, and how they interacted with one another. Religion had such a great effect on the growth of politics throughout the colonies that at one point, religion, and government were one in the same. Eventually laws were forced to be made to separate the two to keep America the free country that it started out being, free to practice any religion, anywhere. Religion was the most influential factor in the development of the colonial societies in every aspect, especially economically, socially, and politically.

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