The Trial of Elizabeth Hutchinson

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The Prosecution of Anne Hutchinson It goes without question that the trial of Anne Hutchinson was fundamentally unjust and unfair. She was tried for no actual crime in the presence of biased judges and witnesses. She was given no opportunity to properly defend herself and was subjected to perhaps every unjust trial tactic known to man. Anne Hutchinson never stood a chance at trial and was ultimately banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. These are not complicated concepts to understand. What is a delicate question, however, is that of the reasoning by which she was perceived as such a threat to the society in which she lived. Many other men had been involved similarly in forms of dissent from the established and mandatory religious affiliation of the community, the Puritan Church. The background information provided, as well as the transcript of the actual trial, suggests that Hutchinson had brought forth a disruption of the expected role of women in puritan society. Additionally, she was tried in a time when the church and state were confronting the imminent danger of the Antinomian movement. To further kindle the situation she was a tremendous threat to the most intimate relationships between the highest members of church and government, who were also the ones by whom she was being tried. Anne Hutchinson was an extraordinary threat to the Massachusetts Bay colony because she endangered the very social and cultural fiber of the society in which she lived. Being a woman in puritan society meant being submissive. It meant playing a role in which one did not lead as a woman but follow. Within the background information there is evidence of this concept. In carrying out these responsibilities, male and female roles sometimes overlapped, but more often they were divided into public (male) and private (female) spheres. (32) In day-to-day life it was
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