PLS 315-01

State establishment of religion in American history

  • Anglican
    • VA 1607: strong
    • NC/SC: weak
    • GA: weak
    • NY: initially Dutch, then Anglican
    • MD: initially English Catholic, then Anglican
  • Puritan (aka Congregationalist)
    • MA: strongest
    • CT: strongest
    • NH: weak
  • No established church
    • RI: Roger Williams
    • PA: Wm. Penn (Quaker, “inner light” concept)
    • NJ
    • DE

Factors mitigating attempts to establish

  • diversity of populations
  • sparse population
  • unsettled; population in flux
  • dispersed population (rural/plantations)
  • huge parishes with few ministers
  • economic reasons for colonization v. religious

goals of establishment

  • financial support of church (taxation)
  • offices restricted to parishioners
  • dissent penalized
  • sabbath mandatory
  • blasphemy law

why move away from establishment paradigm?

  • models of successful colonies with no establishment (RI, PA)
    • religious oppo
    • freedom of consc.
    • diversity
    • PA “Dutch” Catholics
    • legal coercion seen as illegitimate
  • 18th c. growing diversity & population
    • birth of evangelical protestants
      • Baptists, Methodists
      • BJC
    • Act of Toleration (Eng 1869)
      • all protestants shall be tolerated

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