Anne Hutchinson’s Troubles in Colonial America

Date:

Anne Hutchinson was a Puritan convert who, due to her beliefs, was tried and found guilty of heresy in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1630s. She was eventually banished from the colony and settled in Rhode Island. So, what led to trouble for Anne Hutchinson in colonial times? Let’s take a look. 

A Spiritual Crisis

It all started with a spiritual crisis. Anne Hutchinson began to question her religious beliefs and whether she was truly saved. She started attending meetings led by Reverend John Cotton, where she found solace in his preaching and began to develop her own ideas about spirituality. These ideas diverged from what the colony’s religious leaders were teaching, and she soon found herself at odds with them. 

Questioned by the Court

In 1637, Anne Hutchinson was summoned to appear before the General Court, the governing body of the colony, to answer for her beliefs. She was questioned by the colony’s governor, John Winthrop, and other religious leaders. During her questioning, she held her own and refused to back down from her beliefs. 

Excommunication and Banishment

Despite her defiance, Anne Hutchinson was found guilty of sedition and heresy. She was ordered to be banished from the colony and excommunicated from the church. Her husband, William, attempted to appeal the decision, but they were unsuccessful. In 1638, they left the colony with a group of followers and headed south to Rhode Island. 

Legacy

Anne Hutchinson’s story has been used as a rallying cry for religious freedom and the separation of church and state. She remains an important figure in early American history, with a monument dedicated to her in Rhode Island and a feature in the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail. 

Colonial America

Hutchinson’s trials quickly became a lightning rod for religious and political tensions within the colony. On one side were those who believed that a person’s salvation was predetermined by God—a belief known as predestination. On the other side were those who believed that good works could earn a person salvation—a belief known as Arminianism. Hutchinson subscribed to the latter belief, which put her at odds with many of the colony’s leaders. 

After being found guilty of heresy, Hutchinson was ordered to be banished from the colony. She subsequently settled in Rhode Island, where she helped establish the town of Portsmouth. Anne Hutchinson died during an attack by Native Americans in 1643. 

Conclusion: 

Anne Hutchinson was a religious convert who ran afoul of the authorities in colonial America due to her beliefs. Born in England, she emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634 with her husband and several children. A pious woman, Hutchinson became involved in religious discussions held in her home and criticized the colony’s minister, John Cotton, for not accurately preaching the word of God. As a result of her criticisms, Hutchinson was put on trial for heresy in 1637. 

Tried and found guilty, she was ordered to be banished from the colony and settled in Rhode Island, where she helped establish the town of Portsmouth. Anne Hutchinson died during an attack by Native Americans in 1643.

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