17th Century America Research Paper

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Alison Galetti HIS 101 Professor Bernath October 6th, 2014 Tolerance and Equality in 17th Century America Americans are attracted to the idea that America was a land of equality and tolerance from its establishment, yet, in its early years of formation, life in these new colonies were far from this utopian idea. Life in 17th century America was different depending on the region a colonist decided to live. The regions can best be separated into three categories: the Northern Colonies, the Southern Colonies and the Middle Colonies. The distinctions between these regions will be observed through the varying levels of equality and religious tolerance. For the purpose of this essay, tolerance will be defined as religious acceptance within a society.…show more content…
Religious homogeneity was also a necessary means of the Puritans success of creating a pure society. Religion was the basis of governing as well as the basis of justice. Leaders believed that religious dissenters would lead the entire system of Puritan society to crumble and, therefore, these groups were not tolerated and immediately expelled from the society. Anne Hutchinson is a famous example of the religious intolerance of society. Hutchinson was considered a radical Puritan who was misguided by the thought that she new of a better, more pure religion (Trial). As she was a radical religious figure stating that the Puritan religion was wrong and since she was a woman preaching the words of God, she was immediately ejected from the…show more content…
These Middle Colonies were profit-seeking similar to the Southern Colonies and more socially equal than New England. Pennsylvania was a Proprietary Middle Colony and a gift from the Crown in 1681 to William Penn. William Penn was a Quaker and the Quakers were a religious group that was continuously persecuted by people in England and in the colonies. Religious tolerance was of paramount importance to the Quaker population. Almost immediately after receiving the land grant, Penn established religious tolerance and freedom and advertised it as such to settlers. In 1682, there were 4,000 settlers in Pennsylvania and by 1700 there were 21,000 settlers. This unprejudiced concept of religious tolerance was attractive to people from all over the world and resulted in large amounts of settling in the Middle Colonies. It was a refuge for the religiously persecuted and allowed no connection between church and state. Social equality and tolerance was probably most abundant in the Middle Colonies. Due to the diverse social classes and heritage, people morphed into a larger class of traders and farmers. The most important social equality in the region was the respect of the Indian populations. Indians were not feared as they were in the North and Indian land was not taken as it was in South. Rather, these colonists made a point of purchasing their land and treating

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