Throughout England, laws preventing religious persecution did not exist. Followers of religions other than those approved by the government faced physical punishment and possible exile from England. During the 17th century, these exiled people came together and left England on a journey that they hoped would allow them religious freedom. They traveled to North America, formed colonies, and lived by their own rules. However, these previously persecuted groups, having fled for their own benefit, looked down upon other religious groups having escaped for the same purpose. While in the colonies, more powerful religious groups exiled others, the way they had been exiled before in England. Prior to 1700, the British North American colonies provided for a moderate extent of religious freedom.
During the early colonization of North America, two main religious groups formed colonies along the Atlantic coastline. The Quakers made their home in New Jersey, while the Puritans founded Massachusetts.
Their newly founded freedom allowed them to practice their religion freely without fear of the British government. This, however, did not hold true for members of their own society.
Roger Williams traveled from England to live with the Puritans of Massachusetts. He strongly believed in religious freedom and felt he had the right to speak his own mind. He voiced his beliefs that God spoke to people other than Priests, which caused uproar in the colony. The Puritans refused to acknowledge his contrary beliefs, and Roger Williams was exiled. He traveled to present-day Rhode Island and founded a colony that accepted all members of different religions.
Prior to 1700, the British North American colonies provided for a moderate extent of religious freedom. Persecuted religious groups fled England for a better life in North America. The Quakers settled in New Jersey, while the Puritans lived in Massachusetts. These strongly followed...