Religion played a fundamental role in the settlement of North America. The Pilgrims, who helped settle New England, were fleeing persecution. Likewise, the Quakers of Pennsylvania, and the Mennonites and Amish who also settled there. Maryland was founded as a Catholic colony. And many of the Europeans who settled the Midwest did so for religious, as well as economic reasons. Internally, the migration of Mormons to the West led to the creation of Utah, and had an influence on other states in the area.
Today, while church attendance is significantly lower than much of Africa and some of Latin America, Americans are still more religious than Europeans.
As a result, religion has played a large role in public life. Watch this video cataloging many of the positive ones:
- As the video points out, religion motivated many of the great social advances in the United States. Interestingly, opponents of reform often also drew on religious arguments. Why do you think this might be?
- Quakers, for instance, included slaveholders before they became leaders in the abolitionist movement. There were long debates among Quakers about the proper way to understand slavery, and then once they concluded it was wrong, how to address it. In the end, they united into a powerful anti-slavery movement. Why might “moral communities” like the Quakers be more effective places for such issues to be debated and resolved than t
2018, Jan. 17, Religious Freedom [digital image]. Retrieved from <awarenessdays.com>