Tag Archives: religion

New England: Witchcraft?

Although the Salem, Massachusetts witchcraft trials are the most well-known, courts in New England had dealt with the perceived issue of witchcraft for decades. This case, from Connecticut, describes the case of Elizabeth Knap. At the conclusion the author provides his own assessment of the evidence in the case.

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Religion in New England

 The Puritan founders of the Massachusetts Bay colony  sought to make their society a “citiy on a hill,” an example of Christian community for their English homeland to emulate. This led to, in some cases, a greater degree of religious persecution than in England; not only against the non-Christian Native Americans but against Christians who dissented from some aspects of the leadership’s Calvinist faith.

Roger Williams (1603-1683) was a proponent of religious freedom and of a separation between civil and religious affairs.  He founded the Providence Plantation colony (later Rhode Island) partially as a refuge for those persecuted.

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