Evidence throughout American history confirms religion has significantly contributed to the evolution of our culture. Multiple events have contributed, including politics, people and weather. Politics and people are widely impacted by religion. Religion is the primary cause of most wars in countries across the world. Many historians believe America was formed on the basis of religion. In this research paper, I will illustrate the impact religion had on American History to 1877. Specifically, it will examine: 1) Major events impacting traditional religious beliefs in America, 2) Religious disputes which impacted land development, and 3) The impact religion had on slavery.
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In the mid 1600’s, Puritan pastors began preaching a different sermon. It was based on the teachings of the biblical prophet, Jeremiah, and known as the jeremiad. An intense change in the church led to the creation of the Half-Way Covenant. It erased the segregation between the converted and non-converted members of society. Many believe this arrangement diluted the religious values of the church because it integrated the sinners with the saved (Cengage Learning , 2013).
The path of religious decline inspired the creation of a dark culture of witchcraft in Europe. It was an unintended consequence of the war between France and American colonies. Significant turmoil remained as a result of the war. It destroyed American regions and drove refugees into Salem Village in Massachusetts Bay. Salem’s first ordained minister, Reverend Samuel Parris, was greedy and devious. Villagers openly voiced concern, stating the turmoil in their region was inspired by the devil. In attempt to combat the evil, a group of young girls in Salem, Massachusetts claimed to be bewitched by older women from New England. A “witch hunt” ensued, seeking to find the “possessed”. Thousands of witches were lynched because of their affiliation with witchcraft (Cohen, 2013).
In 1692, the Salem Witch Trials were held in Salem Village. Local officials interrogated women over their affiliation with witchcraft. Most of the accused were associated with the successful economy in Salem. Their accusers were from the subsistent farming families in the region. At the conclusion of the trials, 20 women and 2 dogs were executed. The era of witch hunting ended in 1693 when the governor prohibited further trials. His mandate was motivated by an accusation which stated his wife was a witch too. Although the trials were for a short duration, their impact had long-term effects on the quality of religion in America (Blumberg, 2007).
Land development in colonial America was supported by churches with varying spiritual beliefs. The intensely different views resurrected older Protestant traditions. The practices also decomposed the authority of churches and enhanced the sensitivity of politics surrounding religion. Protestants and Catholics believed religious unity was a critical component to societal existence. The Great Awakening was a precursor to the American Revolution, which ultimately aligned the Republicans and Protestants. Combined into one movement for illustration, it was one of the most significant events in the development of land and politics in the United States (Kerber, 1990). It began in the 1730’s and 1740’s.
Pastor Jonathan Edwards, from Massachusetts, started the Great Awakening by affirming the need for God’s grace. He emphasized the need for dependence on grace instead of works alone. Edwards’ doctrine was further expanded by the exuberant preaching of George Whitehead. He led numerous revivals proclaiming God’s divine omnipotence. Their works...