Religion's Influence on the American Colonies

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The question is asked by people all over the country; how did the cultures America in the north and south become so different? To find out, the early history of the country must be considered. The early factors from when America was still under British control played a part in creating the difference that exists today. Although there were many factors, religion was the key factor in why the New England and Chesapeake colonies were so different from each other. Puritanism in New England and Anglicanism in Chesapeake effected the development of the government, the social structure, and the economic opportunities. Religion played its biggest part in shaping the social structure. In New England, the Puritans created tight-knit communities with all the families living close together. This was so the community could “keep an eye” on all the families and correct them if they were doing something wrong or straying from the “path to god”. Also because the people lived so close together, public schooling was created. Originally it was created to teach children to read so they could read the bible, but it grew with the times. Religion was also used to oust uppity citizens who questioned the community’s laws. (Anne Hutchinson, Roger Williams, the Salem witch trials.) In the Chesapeake the people lived very far away from each other. This was in part due to a decline of religion in the area. Nobody would correct someone if they were committing sins, so the people’s morals began to decline. People could get away with many immoral acts and be left untouched and uncorrected. When it came to the political landscape of the colonies, religion was very influential. In the Chesapeake colonies, elected officials were appointed by the royalty in England. This tie existed strongly through the Anglican Church were England still had the power. Also, the highest class made the decisions and

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