Colonial Era Religious Freedom Essay

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Elitists believed that social inequality maintained order in the colonies. However, expanding suffrage, religious toleration, and equality under the law have made the U.S. a super power throughout history. Therefore, the values and ideas that were successful during the Colonial Era have survived until today. The English settlers began instituting suffrage as soon as they reached the New World. On April 26, 1607, six men from the Jamestown voyage were named the council of the new colony (Crews). These men were tasked to deliberate and elect a member of that same council to be the president of the colony (Crews). From this event grew the notion that men deserved a voice in government. Although the extent of suffrage during the colonial period…show more content…
Although most of the communities they established were only friendly to their own religious brethrens, Maryland and Pennsylvania opened their doors to a wider variety of people. Cecilius Calvert established Maryland in 1632 to show people that Catholics and Protestants could coexist (Foner 26). The only requirement to be an inhabitant in Maryland was to believe in Christ (Browne). As long as people lived peacefully, denominations did not matter, and prejudice against another religion could be severely punished by the law (Browne). Maryland instituted a system of toleration that kept the colony unified sharply contrasting Europe’s constant religious wars that split the continent. Pennsylvania took it a step further. William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, believed that government and religion should not be connected (Foner 45). He did not restrict his holy experiment to only Christians because in his opinion for an individual to be truly happy, he or she needed their own religious worship (William Penn). Although Penn’s society had some restrictions, like only allowing Christians to hold office, they had a major impact. Today, we lived under a secular government that shows no favoritism towards any religion. As American citizens, it is instilled in us to respect the beliefs and religions of others, values that can be traced back to the Colonial

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