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Religious Influence on the Colonies

            The first English colony in the new world was Jamestown, founded in 1607. Although this colony was found to make more money for England, there were many other colonies founded to escape the religious persecution back at home. Some of these colonies included Maryland, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Religion shaped politics in the new colonies by forming a semi-theocracy where the richest and most religious white men ran the government. Religion also shaped society through Patriarchy, the Protestant work ethic, the Toleration Act, and the "social covenant.".
             Being founded on religion shapes the colony's politics. Maryland, founded by Lord Baltimore, a member from an important English Catholic family, was strictly Catholic. Therefore, Catholics were in control. Only the wealthiest, most religious people governed the colony. Massachusetts was founded by the pilgrims when they landed in Plymouth. As Puritans, they thought the purpose of government was to enforce God's laws. "Free men" consisted of while adult males who belonged to the Puritan Congregations. They annually elected a governor, his assistants, and a representative assembly called the General Court, which only allowed "visible saints," Puritans who went in church and prayed regularly, to participate. This colony believed in separation from church and state. Lastly, Pennsylvania, a colony founded by William Penn, gave religious freedom to Quakers. Quakers had very unique beliefs which allowed them to not have a tax-supported church. This caused many problems in England, hence them moving to the new world. Penn's government was rather liberal and contained a representative assembly elected by landowners. People had more religious freedom in Pennsylvania then in most colonies.
             Religion, in colonial America, also shaped society. Maryland's Toleration Act of 1649 is a great example of a religion shaped society.

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