In the early years of what later became the United States, Christian religious groups played an influential role in each of the British colonies, and most attempted to enforce strict religious observance through both colony governments and local town rules.
Sometimes the juxtaposition of religious groups created conflict, as when Spanish settlers sought to impose Roman Catholicism on the Pueblos in the Southwest, leading to the Pueblo uprising ofseventy years after the founding of Santa Fe as the first European capital city in North America.
At other times, religious groups have accommodated to one another, as in the Middle Colonies, where rampant ethnic and religious diversity forced various groups to find some way to coexist.
New Netherland provides a particularly graphic example. In Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian navigator in the service of France, discovered the inlet to what is now New York harbor through the Narrows that now bears his name.
17th & 18th Centuries. 19th Century. 20th Century. 20th Century Essays. declared that “we now know more about the Puritans than any sane person should care to know,” historians began to look at religious life in other colonies. As in the nineteenth century, religious diversity in the twentieth century was inextricably tied to. History of Europe - Revolution and the growth of industrial society, – Developments in 19th-century Europe are bounded by two great events. The French Revolution broke out in , and its effects reverberated throughout much of Europe for many decades. World War I began in Its inception resulted from many trends in . Characteristic of Christianity in the 19th century were Evangelical revivals in some largely Protestant countries and later the effects of modern Biblical scholarship on the churches. Liberal or modernist theology was one consequence of this. In Europe, the Roman Catholic Church strongly opposed liberalism and "Georgia" culture wars launched in Germany, Italy, Belgium and France.
Hudson failed in his search for a northwest passage to Asia, but he opened the way for immigration. The first group of settlers to disembark at Manhattan were Walloons, French-speaking Belgians, followed soon thereafter by a modest influx of Dutch, Germans, and French. The English Conquest of New Netherland a decade later further added to the diversity of the colony renamed in honor of the Duke of York, and English attempts to tame some of the religious and ethnic diversity of their new colony met with considerable resistance.
In contrast with most of New England, where the Puritans sought to impose religious uniformity, other colonies in the Middle Atlantic were also characterized by pluralism.
Further south, the Swedes, flush from their crucial engagement in the Thirty Years War, sought to establish a beachhead in the New World with settlements along the Delaware River, settlements that yielded to Dutch rule in and then to the English nine years later. Williams, a Puritan minister who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, inquickly ran afoul of the Puritan ministers because he recognized the dangers to the faith of too close an association between religion and the state.
The notion of disestablishment, the absence of a state religion, was utterly unprecedented in England and Europe, but New York had been functioning for decades with de facto disestablishment, proving that religious pluralism posed no threat to the secular order and that government could function without the backing of a particular religion.
The absence of an established religion means that all religious groups are free to compete in this marketplace, and to extend the economic metaphor American history is littered with examples of religious entrepreneurs who have competed for a market share.
This system in theory, at least disadvantages no one, so all religious groups, regardless of their historical or ethnic origins or their theological inclinations, are free to compete in that marketplace.
The Crucible of Pluralism Americans, however, have not always welcomed religious newcomers with open arms. The immigration of the Irish, following the Potato Famines in the Old World, met with resistance from American Protestants, who wanted to retain their hegemony. Religious diversity not only had an ethnic valence, it was racial as well.
Many Africans, who were brought forcibly to the New World as slaves, adopted the Christianity so-called of their captors. But others sought, against formidable odds, to retain vestiges of their ancestral religions; more often than not, those expressions manifested themselves in enthusiastic worship.
African-Americans also sought independence from white churches, finding at least a measure or institutional autonomy in such organizations as the African Methodist Episcopal Churchthe African Episcopal Methodist Zion Churchand, later, in the Moorish Science Temple of America and the Nation of Islam.
African American Religion, Pt. To the Civil War Asians began to arrive late in the nineteenth century, many to the West Coast to help with the construction of the transcontinental railroad. The numbers of immigrants prompted the Chinese Exclusion Act ofand other Asians also met with resistance.
Living Up to American Ideals The movement for civil rights in the s and s paved the way for a greater acceptance of religious diversity, not only for African-Americans but for other Americans as well. Jews, who had their own struggles for acceptance following their immigration to the United States in the nineteenth century see also: Antisemitism and Assimilationjoined the civil rights movement, and Native Americans also began to assert their religious and ancestral identities, as with the occupation of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay and Wounded Knee, South Dakota, site of one most brutal massacres of Sioux Indians at the hands of the United States Cavalry in When President Lyndon B.
Johnson signed the Hart-Cellar Immigration Act in Julyimmigration quotas finally were removed. This opened the way for a new wave of immigrants, many from South Asia and Southeast Asia.
As before, the newcomers met resistance. Guiding Student Discussion American history generally—and American religious history in particular—tends to be presented through the lens of New England, especially in the colonial era.
The story of how these groups learned to live together provides a rich contrast to New England, where the Puritans sought—unsuccessfully—to impose religious uniformity.
This translates, in turn, to the formation of the new nation. The founders adapted the ideas of Roger Williams, a Puritan dissident and founder of the Baptist tradition in America, along with the experience of religious diversity in the Middle Colonies to provide for freedom of religious expression and no state church, as encoded in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The First Amendment itself, much debated throughout American history and especially in recent years, is worthy of examination and discussion, emphasizing that this notion of a government that was not buttressed by a state religion was utterly unprecedented in the eighteenth century.
The First Amendment provided, in effect, a free marketplace of religion unimpeded by the state, thereby allowing a rich variety of religious groups to flourish. One suggestion would be to study both New England and the Middle Colonies and then ask students which region more nearly anticipated the contours of American society.In contrast to other colonies, there was a meetinghouse in every New England town.
6 In Boston, a city with a population of , had eighteen churches. 7 In the previous century church attendance was inconsistent at best. After the s, with many more churches and clerical bodies emerging, religion in New England became more organized and attendance more uniformly enforced.
It was first self-applied during the Age of Enlightenment in 18th century France. The French Revolution was driven by the prioritization of human reason over the abstract authority of religion.
This prompted a period of skeptical inquiry, one in which atheism became . Christianity in the 17th century. Jump to navigation Jump to search The first page of Genesis from the ending a century of religious toleration. 18th: 19th: 20th: 21st. Characteristic of Christianity in the 19th century were Evangelical revivals in some largely Protestant countries and later the effects of modern Biblical scholarship on the churches.
Liberal or modernist theology was one consequence of this. In Europe, the Roman Catholic Church strongly opposed liberalism and "Georgia" culture wars launched in Germany, Italy, Belgium and France.
It was not until the late 18th century, This article discusses the intellectual roots and political history of conservatism from the 18th century to the present. In social science: New ideologies; View More. Additional Reading. External Websites. The Basics of Philosophy - Conservatism.
In Europe, the eighteenth century was a period of intellectual, social, and political ferment. This time is often referred to as the Age of Enlightenment, for it was in the 18th century that the ideas of the previous years were implemented on a broad scale.