The primary reason that most Europeans moved to America was because they wanted the religious freedoms and liberation from the oppressive churches of Europe, although they did have this freedom they took it from the natives and their own colonists. Puritans tried to make themselves the only free people based only on their religion and they stole the human rights and persecuted those who did not conform. There were some physical punishments such as whippings and beatings and other “lucky’ ones were fined, imprisoned or even banished.
A few historical figures such as Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams were banished and Roger Williams went on to found Rhode Island with the idea of separation of church and state. They took the rights of the colonists in subtle ways such as the Puritan Stamp that let only Puritans be considered “freemen” and non-puritans could not go to certain churches and be involved in politics which meant they would not be included in major decision making, further alienating them from this new religious society.
Furthermore, non- Puritans could not hold land or buy stocks, eliminating some of the major moneymaking investments and influencing more and more individuals to Join this Puritan religion. Just as England limited their religion, they did so in this New World. It could be argued that immigrants had some sort of right to take the rights of their own colonists that emigrated from England but stealing these freedoms from the natives and imposing their own religion is simply unfair.
The colonists attempted to reform many of these Indians to Catholicism who already had a religion, but it was to recognized because it was not homogeneous with that of the English and did not have one, clear defined God. Indians who refused were- Just like the colonists- punished and prosecuted. Indians were not the only minority ethnic group to be oppressed; the Africans were as well, although in a different way.
Colonists did not want to make the Africans Catholic because there were too many moral implications of them treating Catholics with the brutality that they did with the slaves. The fantastic thing is, they also did not want the Africans to form a religion and culture of heir own because if they were to assemble, the population would be large enough to successfully rally against their white slave owners.
Any time the Africans were seen practicing their own religion they were cruelly punished, the severity of the punishment left up to the imagination of the slave owner. Finally, there were many unnecessary laws put in place by the government, to limit the rights of colonists and restrain them from religious freedoms. First in Virginia, a law was put in place called the Virginia Sunday LaW’ which required all en and women to go to church on the Sabbath even if their religion did not call for it or they were not religious in the first place.
In Massachusetts if you did not follow this law you were not fined, like colonists were in Maryland, or put in the stocks like Delaware, colonists actually invoked the death penalty. True, England was rather intolerant of the many religions and was the main reason why many of the immigrants came to the Americas, but it is accurate to say that England was not The English broke off from England and along with it, the churches who tried to press the religious opinions of its people.
Ironically these people who were able to escape from the religious system that they felt was unjust, imposed one that was similar, if not worse on the colonists, the native people and the African slaves. This behavior of the Puritans is naively Justified as an attempt to create a perfect religion but to anyone else looking in on the outside, it is considered hypocritical and unjust and the violence of these Puritan people cannot be rationalized with the endeavor of trying to create the perfect society.