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By Philip Jenkins (auth.)

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Extra resources for A History of the United States

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In 1647 Rhode Island abolished witch trials. The colony's 1663 charter contains the astonishing affirmation that 'every person may at all times freely and fully enjoy his own judgment and conscience in matters of religious concernments'. For the next century Rhode Island enjoyed an evil reputation among orthodox New Englanders as a spiritual Sodom, the baneful influence of which was reflected in the mystical and occult speculations that are recorded in villages along the southern coasts of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The two hundred settlers who arrived in the new land in 1634 were equally divided between Protestant and Catholic. Maryland offered an atmosphere of religious tolerance that was attractive to many besides Catholics, but in 1655 relations became violent and Puritan settlers defeated a Catholic force. Matters remained tense until 1689, when the Calvert supremacy was overturned, and the favourable position of Catholicism destroyed. The Marylanders entered the tobacco trade with the same enthusiasm as the Virginians.

In 1535 Jacques Cartier explored the St Lawrence river and began a series of colonizing attempts that ultimately bore fruit in the founding of the 'city' of Quebec (really a trading post) in 1608. By the 1630s colonization was extending along the StLawrence, and in 1663 New France became a crown colony under Louis XIV. In the early seventeenth century the French authorities sponsored Jesuit expeditions with the aim of creating a spiritual and political empire among Christianized Indian tribes such as the Algonquins and Hurons, chiefly in the modern Canadian province of Ontario.

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