of patriarchal prerogative that undermined Christian ideals. The enslavement of kidnapped Africans complicated all interpersonal relationships, including those of church and people. And because of imperial unconcern combined with colonial political resistance, it was never possible to secure a bishop, and so colonial Anglicans always lacked essential components of their church's traditional life.
A different Protestant establishment was carried to the new world in five Puritan colonies created by the precise Calvinists who had been frustrated in their efforts at completing the Reformation in England: Plymouth (1620) and Massachusetts Bay (1630), which were united as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1691; Connecticut (1636) and New Haven (1638), which were consolidated as the colony of Connecticut in 1662; and New Hampshire, which separated off as a separate government from Massachusetts in 1680. Because of its enduring importance, New England Puritanism receives separate treatment below.
As an indication of the instant variety of new-world Christianity, two more foundations were also in place early on. New Amsterdam was created as a Dutch outpost at the mouth of the Hudson River in the mid-i620s. It enjoyed the services of several Dutch Reformed ministers, but they were always hamstrung by a lack of settlers from Holland and the heavy-handed mismanagement of the colony's governors. In i664, New Amsterdam was taken over by the English and renamed New York. From 1693, the colony's new elite tried to constitute the Church of England as the established church in New York City, but by that time there were simply too many different religious groups in the colony to make an establishment work.
From the other end of the European religious spectrum, Maryland was established in 1634 as a refuge for English Catholics. Its founders, George Calvert and his son Cecilius, had converted to Catholicism after service to James I, who with his son Charles I awarded them the colony in gratitude. Protestants always made up the bulk of Maryland's settlers, and after the Catholic James II was deposed, the colony in i69i came under Anglican rule. Yet throughout the colonial period, Maryland offered an unusual sanctuary for Catholics in a British world marked by extreme prejudice against Rome.
As colonization expanded during the second half of the seventeenth century, institutionalized Christianity grew somewhat more secure. Significantly, the strongest churches - Puritan Congregationalism, Virginia Anglicanism, and the Catholicism of New France - retained the European ideal of a comprehensive, established state church. All sought the protection of government,
Was this article helpful?