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Anne Hutchinson She was born as Anne Marbury in 1591 in Alford, England. Her father, Francis Marbury, was an official in a church in Cambridge. He was not content with the Church. He declared publicly that many of the church ministers were not fit to guide people's souls, and for that he was jailed for a year. Even so, he continued verbally attacking the Church, claiming that high church officials freely appointed whoever they wanted, and those people were not usually qualified for their positions. Tired of constant arrests and inquisitions, he finally chose conformity and calmed down.Anne spent a lot of time reading her father's on theology and religion. She admired his defiance of traditional church principles. She was also fascinated with theological questions like those about the fate of the Native Americans, who did not know about salvation. When she was twenty-one, she married a man named Will Hutchinson and became known as Anne Hutchinson. She also became a mother to fifteen children. There was a minister, John Cotton, who she always admired. He was originally a Protestant, but as time passed he leaned more and more towards Puritan beliefs. Like her father, he spoke about the corruption in the clergy and called for purification of the Church. He recognized the destructive influence of the Catholic Church on the Church of England, and talked about opportunities for religious in America. Anne Hutchinson's family went to Reverend Cotton's church every Sunday to hear his preachings. Eventually, John Cotton's dream came true, and he was able to cross the Atlantic Ocean and come to New England. In 1634, Anne Hutchinson took her family and followed him to Massachusetts. She wanted to express her increasingly Puritanic views, and she wished to be once again part of John Cotton's congregation. During her voyage to America, she assembled groups of women to religion. She spoke of her views, and became known as a radical. She even claimed that God had revealed to her knowledge of the day of their arrival. Out of sheer coincidence, or for some other unknown reason, she guessed it correctly as September 18, 1634. To her great surprise, New England turned out to be more religiously constrictive than England ever was for her. She was not welcomed warmly by John Cotton because of her unorthodox views. He told her that it would be best for her if she would withhold from speaking about her views. As a prerequisite for her acceptance into the Puritan Church, she had to accept that she was guilty of wrong thinking on the ship and God had not really revealed to her the day of their arrival and that it was a mere guess. She compromised, but in her mind she still held on to her views. She believed that faith alone could bring salvation. She also believed that all people could talk to and receive an answer from God if they would listen. She once said that she felt that nothing important could happen if it was not revealed to her by God beforehand. Seeing the apprehension of the Church and the community at her views, she only expressed them in the privacy of her own home where she sometimes assembled women to share her ideas with. She was never in open defiance of the Church. Although she disagreed with some of its principles, she was still its devoted member. John Cotton also understood the harsh regime of the Puritan Church and its intoleration of nonconformity. He once said that in New England, members of the Church suffered for having a mind of their own. There was another prominent religious figure in New England. His name was John Winthrop, Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony. His dream was to found a city where the Puritan religion would be followed with utmost devotion. He sincerely believed in the inferiority of women to men. He also believed that a woman who devoted herself to reading and writing had lost her understanding and reason. He wrote that women should leave the intellectual work to men, whose minds are stronger. He urged them to honor and keep the place that God had set for them, which was to look out for the household. John Winthrop did not look favorably at Anne Hutchinson and her conferences with other women. He supported a resolution passed by the assembly in 1637, which forbade female assemblies of more than 60 people.
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“The prosecution of Anne Hutchinson was a defining movement in early American history. Winship vividly describes dramatic courtroom scenes, powerful personalities driven to the edges of their beliefs, and the relentless hounding of a highly intelligent woman who thought she understood God’s will.”
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During the 1630s, religious controversies drove a wedge into the puritan communities of Massachusetts. Anne Hutchinson and other members began to speak out against mainstream doctrine, while ministers like John Cotton argued for personal discovery of salvation. The puritan fathers viewed these activities as a direct and dangerous threat to the status quo and engaged in a fierce and finally successful fight against them. Refusing to disavow her beliefs, Hutchinson was put on trial twice—first for slandering the colony's ministers, then for heresy—and banished from the colony.