Religious Freedom in British American Colonies

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Religious Freedom in the British American Colonies
Although the original thirteen colonies of America had to face the same issue of religious toleration in early settlement, three major regions, such as the colonies in New England, middle region, and south responded in different ways. Prior to the year 1700, the original thirteen colonies displayed great contrast of religious toleration in the three major regions; the reluctantly tolerant New England colonies, the far more lenient middle colonies, and the southern colonies that practiced limited religious freedom.

The colonies of New England allowed the least religious tolerance as the only religion accepted was Puritan. Due to this harsh discrimination, the Quakers were banished, faced with fines, as well other punishments. Similarly, other Puritans were faced with immediate banishment if they argued with these laws. A great example of a man of such justice is Roger Williams who disputed the right of civil government in order to legalize religious ethics. By doing so, he founded Providence, Rhode Island and made an exception to freedom of religion in the North, thus making a great impact on the freedom of Jewish and Catholic people.

Fortunately, religious freedom was far more achievable in the middle colonies of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware. In the middle colonies, churches did not rely on taxes, but demanded total allegiance from the congregation. Most religions were allowed and treated equally, although figures back in London did not allow Catholics and Jews to vote. Quakers heavily populated the area due to necessary migration from the harsh northern colonies. Here they were able to find refuge, except in the colony of New York, where persecutions were still evident.

Although religious tolerance was not as greatly accepted in the south than as in the middle colonies, many areas were still more lenient than those of New England. This being said, Anglicanism was established as the...
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