Historical Steps Toward Religious Liberty

824 Words4 Pages
What follows is a skimpy sketch of some things you should know.

There were three types of colonies:
Charter: The king grants a license to run a colony on “his” land in America.
Proprietary: The king gives land and all rights to run a colony to an individual or a group. The colony then belongs to the proprietor(s).
Royal: The king owns the colony.

Though religious freedom is often cited as the reason for people migrating from England to America, it is too simplistic. It is more accurate to say that religious groups came for their own security, but were not committed to equal religious liberty for all.

Religious freedom and tolerance developed over time.

Here are some of the important steps toward religious liberty:

The establishment of Rhode Island as a colony separate from Massachusetts. Roger Williams, the founder, was a Puritan rebel exiled from Massachusetts bay Colony because he challenged the establishment of religion. When he and his followers started the town of Providence, he guaranteed religious liberty for any Christian.

The Act of Toleration. Maryland was supposed to be an all-Catholic colony. That was what Lord Baltimore, the proprietor, wanted. However, more Protestants moved there than Catholics, looking for the opportunity to own land. Tension between the two Christian groups threatened the peace of the colony, so the 2nd Lord Baltimore guaranteed freedom of religion for all Christians and allowed Protestants to hold office.

The Halfway Covenant. When

More about Historical Steps Toward Religious Liberty

Open Document