Colonies

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Synonyms for colony Synonyms plantation Visit the Thesaurus for More. Examples of colony in a Sentence Massachusetts was one of the original 13 British colonies that later became the United States. Recent Examples on the Web The Rhineland was occupied and demilitarized, and German colonies were taken over by the new League of Nations. First Known Use of colony 14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a. Learn More about colony. Resources for colony Time Traveler! Explore the year a word first appeared.

From the Editors at Merriam-Webster. A Drudge of Lexicographers Presents Dictionary Entries near colony colonography colonoscopy colonus colony colony collapse disorder colony house colony-stimulating factor.

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Phrases Related to colony penal colony. Time Traveler for colony The first known use of colony was in the 14th century See more words from the same century. English Language Learners Definition of colony. Kids Definition of colony. Comments on colony What made you want to look up colony?


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Need even more definitions? Words at Play 'Trooper' vs. Ask the Editors On Contractions of Multiple Words You all would not have guessed some of these A Look at Uncommon Onomatopoeia Some imitative words are more surprising than others Literally How to use a word that literally drives some people nuts. Is Singular 'They' a Better Choice? In contrast to other colonies, there was a meetinghouse in every New England town. After the s, with many more churches and clerical bodies emerging, religion in New England became more organized and attendance more uniformly enforced.

In even sharper contrast to the other colonies, in New England most newborns were baptized by the church, and church attendance rose in some areas to 70 percent of the adult population. The New England colonists—with the exception of Rhode Island—were predominantly Puritans, who, by and large, led strict religious lives. The clergy was highly educated and devoted to the study and teaching of both Scripture and the natural sciences.

The Puritan leadership and gentry, especially in Massachusetts and Connecticut, integrated their version of Protestantism into their political structure. Government in these colonies contained elements of theocracy, asserting that leaders and officials derived that authority from divine guidance and that civil authority ought to be used to enforce religious conformity. Their laws assumed that citizens who strayed away from conventional religious customs were a threat to civil order and should be punished for their nonconformity.

Despite many affinities with the established Church of England, New England churches operated quite differently from the older Anglican system in England. Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut had no church courts to levy fines on religious offenders, leaving that function to the civil magistrates. In those colonies, the civil government dealt harshly with religious dissenters, exiling the likes of Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams for their outspoken criticism of Puritanism, and whipping Baptists or cropping the ears of Quakers for their determined efforts to proselytize.

The Toleration Act, passed by the English Parliament in , gave Quakers and several other denominations the right to build churches and to conduct public worship in the colonies.

Religion in Colonial America: Trends, Regulations, and Beliefs | Facing History and Ourselves

Inhabitants of the middle and southern colonies went to churches whose style and decoration look more familiar to modern Americans than the plain New England meeting houses. They, too, would sit in church for most of the day on Sunday.

After , as remote outposts grew into towns and backwoods settlements became bustling commercial centers, Southern churches grew in size and splendor. Church attendance, abysmal as it was in the early days of the colonial period, became more consistent after Much like the north, this was the result of the proliferation of churches, new clerical codes and bodies, and a religion that became more organized and uniformly enforced.

Toward the end of the colonial era, churchgoing reached at least 60 percent in all the colonies. The middle colonies saw a mixture of religions, including Quakers who founded Pennsylvania , Catholics, Lutherans, a few Jews, and others. The southern colonists were a mixture as well, including Baptists and Anglicans.

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In the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland which was originally founded as a haven for Catholics , the Church of England was recognized by law as the state church, and a portion of tax revenues went to support the parish and its priest. Virginia imposed laws obliging all to attend Anglican public worship. Baptist preachers were frequently arrested. Mobs physically attacked members of the sect, breaking up prayer meetings and sometimes beating participants.

As a result, the s and s witnessed a rise in discontent and discord within the colony some argue that Virginian dissenters suffered some of the worst persecutions in antebellum America.

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With few limits on the influx of new colonists, Anglican citizens in those colonies needed to accept, however grudgingly, ethnically diverse groups of Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, members of the Dutch Reformed Church, and a variety of German Pietists. Maryland was founded by Cecilius Calvert in as a safe haven for Catholics. Clergy and buildings belonging to both the Catholic and Puritan religions were subsidized by a general tax.

Quakers founded Pennsylvania. Their faith influenced the way they treated Indians, and they were the first to issue a public condemnation of slavery in America. A religious revival swept the colonies in the s and s. In retrospect, the Great Awakening contributed to the revolutionary movement in a number of ways: it forced Awakeners to organize, mobilize, petition, and provided them with political experience; it encouraged believers to follow their beliefs even if that meant breaking with their church; it discarded clerical authority in matters of conscience; and it questioned the right of civil authority to intervene in all matters of religion.

In a surprising way, these principles sat very well with the basic beliefs of rational Protestants and deists. They also helped clarify their common objections to British civil and religious rule over the colonies, and provided both with arguments in favor of the separation of church and state.


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The political edge of this argument was that no human institution—religious or civil—could claim divine authority. At the core of this rational belief was the idea that God had endowed humans with reason so that they could tell the difference between right and wrong.

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