Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Great American Court Cases » Freedom of Religion - Religious Belief, Growth Of Religious Tolerance, Religion And The Courts, The Changing Concept Of Religion

Freedom of Religion - Growth Of Religious Tolerance

england toleration colonies exercise

Religious intolerance of seventeenth century England, in which religious strife precipitated political turmoil, greatly influenced the colonists. However, the various colonies treated religious toleration differently. The Puritans, greatly persecuted in England, imposed their own religious values in Massachusetts and became the persecutors. Maryland, in an effort to attract settlers, passed the Religion Toleration Act in 1649 marking an early recognition of the freedom of belief. However, the act primarily addressed the freedom of Christians. John Locke, famed English philosopher and early proponent of freedom of thought, wrote the Carolina constitution in 1669. Possibly the most influential action in the colonies regarding religious toleration was the adoption of the 1663 Charter of Rhode Island. The charter, actually created in reaction to persecution by the Puritans, marked the first inclusion of religious liberty in a colony charter.

Across the ocean in the mother country, the adoption of the English Bill of Rights of 1689, though addressing social classes rather than individuals, planted more seeds for the recognition of human rights. The document built on the much earlier 1215 Magna Carta of feudal England which initiated the idea certain fundamental rights existed upon which states could not infringe.

By the 1740s a religious revival movement known as the Great Awakening swept through the colonies spurred by evangelical ministers. The Anglican Church of England became a chief target of dissatisfaction while broader support for various minority sects found in the colonies grew. Consequently, ties with England eroded and the expansion of the free exercise to worship spurred an increasing mood of independence.

By the late 1700s colonial leaders were well under the influence of the Enlightenment, a philosophical movement primarily in Europe promoting freedom of the mind and a more individual approach to religious, social, political, and economic issues through reason and science. Previously unquestioned authority was no longer blindly followed by many. More specifically to religion, the Enlightenment brought skepticism about many Christian beliefs. The right of people to revolt against oppressive authority rose from the movement.

Framers of the Constitution captured this mood in the First Amendment which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Thus was born two key constitutional clauses on religious freedom to guide the new nation: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. However, the idea of religious freedom in early U.S. history consisted of government support and approval of Judeo-Christian faiths and toleration of others. But as James Madison pointed out, toleration is not the same as full liberty.

Freedom of Religion - Religion And The Courts [next] [back] Freedom of Religion - Religious Belief

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

almost 7 years ago



Religious intolerance of seventeenth century England, in which religious strife precipitated political turmoil, greatly influenced the colonists. However, the various colonies treated religious toleration differently. The Puritans, greatly persecuted in England, imposed their own religious values in Massachusetts and became the persecutors. Maryland, in an effort to attract settlers, passed the Religion Toleration Act in 1649 marking an early recognition of the freedom of belief. However, the act primarily addressed the freedom of Christians. John Locke, famed English philosopher and early proponent of freedom of thought, wrote the Carolina constitution in 1669. Possibly the most influential action in the colonies regarding religious toleration was the adoption of the 1663 Charter of Rhode Island. The charter, actually created in reaction to persecution by the Puritans, marked the first inclusion of religious liberty in a colony charter.



Across the ocean in the mother country, the adoption of the English Bill of Rights of 1689, though addressing social classes rather than individuals, planted more seeds for the recognition of human rights. The document built on the much earlier 1215 Magna Carta of feudal England which initiated the idea certain fundamental rights existed upon which states could not infringe.



Ads by Google



By the 1740s a religious revival movement known as the Great Awakening swept through the colonies spurred by evangelical ministers. The Anglican Church of England became a chief target of dissatisfaction while broader support for various minority sects found in the colonies grew. Consequently, ties with England eroded and the expansion of the free exercise to worship spurred an increasing mood of independence.



By the late 1700s colonial leaders were well under the influence of the Enlightenment, a philosophical movement primarily in Europe promoting freedom of the mind and a more individual approach to religious, social, political, and economic issues through reason and science. Previously unquestioned authority was no longer blindly followed by many. More specifically to religion, the Enlightenment brought skepticism about many Christian beliefs. The right of people to revolt against oppressive authority rose from the movement.



Framers of the Constitution captured this mood in the First Amendment which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Thus was born two key constitutional clauses on religious freedom to guide the new nation: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. However, the idea of religious freedom in early U.S. history consisted of government support and approval of Judeo-Christian faiths and toleration of others. But as James Madison pointed out, toleration is not the same as full liberty.







Read more: Freedom of Religion - Growth Of Religious Tolerance - England, Toleration, Colonies, Charter, Exercise, and Rights http://law.jrank.org/pages/22436/Freedom-Religion-Growth-Religious-Tolerance.html#ixzz1IQ1byuOA