Establishment and Diversity

Religion in America

Church of England

u   Beginnings in Virginia

u   Poor quality of clergy, under Bishop of London

u   Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG): From converting Indians to sustaining Anglicanism

u   Hierarchy and order; elite control vestry

u   By 1750 strong, well-established across the South


African American Religion

u  African religions fail to survive in America

u  Little interest in converting slaves

u  Can Christians be enslaved?

u  The literacy issue

u  Anglicanism does not appeal to most slaves

Unintended Diversity

u  New Amsterdam: Dutch Reformed Church, 1624

u  Jews to New Amsterdam, 1654

u  Sephardic Jews from Spain via Brazil

u  Newport, R.I., 1677

u  Maryland, 1635

u  Refuge for Catholics

u  Religious freedom, 1649-1691

u  Huguenots, 1685

u  South Carolina, New York

Model of Toleration

u  William Penn establishes Pennsylvania, 1681

u  Refuge for Quakers

u  No established church,
no persecution

Pennsylvania Diversity

u  Scotch-Irish Presbyterians along the frontier

u  German Pietist sects immigrate

u  The Moravian brethren

u Personal relationship with God

u Strict discipline of moral piety

u Vigorous evangelizing about need for conversion

u  But Pennsylvania was a disappointment to Quakers


u  From out of Separatism

u  Early appearance in Rhode Island: Roger Williams

u  The Great Awakening: spectacular growth

u  Emphasis on conversion & evangelism

u  Farmer-preachers, not educated; no “hireling preachers”

u  Discipline: focus on individual sins (dancing, drinking, etc.)

u  Constant battles with Congregational authorities

u  Found Brown University in Rhode Island, 1764

u  Expansion into the South, 1750s

u  Growth despite violence and persecution in Virginia