In British North America, the distinctive religious attachments of the thirteen independent colonies affected their colonization and development. These colonies varied in their approach, from Massachusetts’ initial establishment as a Puritan stronghold to Penn’s “holy experiment” in religious tolerance to Virginia’s reliance on the Church of England for guidance. Each colony employed a moral/religious compass when establishing their rule of law and viewed religion as a way to include or exclude individual members of society. The leaders of religious movements were also leaders in colonial government, since religion and government were inseparable to the seventeenth-century mind. In the mid-eighteenth century, the sermons of the First Great Awakening shook America’s religious foundations to the core and helped to form a new American moral consciousness, which played a critical role in the creation of a distinctive American mindset fully established by the wake of the American Revolution.
Additional resources for research
- Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, the Library of Congress.
- Religion in Colonial America: Trends, Regulations, and Beliefs, Facing History and Ourselves.
- Religion, Colonial Williamsburg.