Anne Hutchinson Essays

Rhode Island has many founders, in keeping with its democratic tradition.While Roger Williams was beginning Providence, others were coming to different places on Narragansett Bay, eager to find their own forms of freedom.

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Under the new administration (led by John Winthrop), she was put on trial, twice, by civil and then religious authorities.

Her trial marked a remarkable moment in the early history of New England, when ideas about freedom of worship – the same issue that was so important to Roger Williams – were up in the air.

Women are often quiet in early American history – but not here.

Stories of how states were founded normally revolve around men, for the simple reason that men controlled nearly all of the levers of power in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

There she raised more than a dozen children, and became an ardent follower of the minister, John Cotton, who was preaching in the English city of Boston.

While in England, she often organized small groups to discuss religious matters, called “conventicles.” After John Cotton emigrated to the new city of Boston, in America, she and her family followed in 1634.

So it is fair to say that she was crucial to the early history of two states – Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Anne was born around 1591, the daughter of an important minister, Francis Marbury, who was often speaking out in ways that were controversial. Anne Marbury grew up primarily in the town of Alford, in Lincolnshire, England, near where Captain John Smith (who helped to settle Virginia) came from.

But she showed remarkable spirit and intelligence throughout the questioning.

In a way, that was in itself a rebuttal of one of the underlying charges – that women were not entitled to form their own opinions.


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