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American History - Colonial Period

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More specifically, Reis examines the relationship between Puritans' understanding of women, their perception of evil, and related aspects of Puritan theology in seventeenth-century New England. At the intersection of the three, she finds an explanation for why women were accused of witchcraft more often than men, confessed more often than men, and more frequently accused other women of being witches.

Reis argues that Puritan theology postulated that women and men were equal in the sight of God, and that salvation and damnation were foreordained by God, not chosen by individuals, female or male. Lived religion, however, posed the contradictory suspicion that womanhood and evil were inextricably linked. Puritans believed, Reis suggests, that whereas their particular sins led men to their damnation, women's vile natures brought them to the devil. Because men tended to focus on what they did and women on what they were, men were more likely to repent for their particular sins and women to think of themselves as utterly depraved, as "rebellious wretches against God" (p. 1), or as unredeemable slaves of Satan.

Clergy and laity believed that the devil afflicted the body in order to possess the soul and that the devil seemed to possess women more readily than men. Reis explains that Puritans described the devil's torments in ways consonant with their understanding of women's and men's souls and bodies. They construed the soul in gendered terms as a feminine entity, but they concluded that the soul was far more vulnerable to the devil's molestations when it dwelled in the weaker female body. Because, in their view, women's bodies were weaker, the devil could and did reach women's souls more easily and frequently. In sum, although men and women were equal before God and the devil, women were more likely than men to submit to Satan and to become witches.

Reis argues that the witchcraft episodes of seventeenth-century New England clearly display this sense of women's inherent wickedness. It was women, by and large, whom the devil tortured, hoping to recruit them into his service as witches. It was women who confessed to witchcraft and who, Reis argues, were so assured of their essential sinfulness that they became convinced they had actually covenanted with Satan. Others have suggested that this could be true of some women, but no one has yet argued that it could be the case for a significant number of the accused or made the case so convincingly from such an intricate, yet persuasive, analysis of the multiple meanings of seventeenth-century confessions. That accused women actually came to believe that they were guilty is the key to Reis's book; it is also likely to prove the most controversial of her assertions.
The First Great Awakening began in the 1730s and lasted to about 1743, though pockets of revivalism had occurred in years prior, especially amongst the ministry of Solomon Stoddard, Jonathan Edwards's grandfather.[2] Edwards's congregation was involved in a revival later called the "Frontier Revivals" in the mid-1730s, though this was on the wane by 1737.[3] But as American religious historian Sydney E. Ahlstrom noted, the Great Awakening "was still to come, ushered in by the Grand Itinerant",[3] the great British Evangelist George Whitefield. Whitefield arrived in Georgia in 1738, and returned in 1739 for a second visit of the Colonies, making a "triumphant campaign north from Philadelphia to New York, and back to the South."[3] In 1740, he visited New England, and "at every place he visited, the consequences were large and tumultuous." Ministers from various evangelical Protestant denominations supported the Great Awakening.[4] In the middle colonies, he influenced not only the British churches, but the Dutch and Germans.[5]

Additionally, pastoral styles began to change. In the late colonial period, most pastors read their sermons, which were theologically dense and advanced a particular theological argument or interpretation. Nathan Hatch argues that the evangelical movement of the 1740s played a key role in the development of democratic thought.[6][disputed - discuss], as well as the belief of the free press and the belief that information should be shared and completely unbiased and uncontrolled.[7]

These concepts ushered in the period of the American Revolution. This contributed to create a demand for religious freedom.[8] The Great Awakening represented the first time African Americans embraced Christianity in large numbers.[9]
In the later part of the 1700s the Revival came to the English colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, primarily through the efforts of Henry Alline and his New Light movement.[10]
1763 - Pontiac's War, or Pontiac's Rebellion was a war that was launched in 1763 by a loose confederation of elements of Native American tribes primarily from the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, and Ohio Country who were dissatisfied with British postwar policies in the Great Lakes region after the British victory in the French and Indian War (1754-1763). Warriors from numerous tribes joined the uprising in an effort to drive British soldiers and settlers out of the region. The war is named after the Odawa leader Pontiac, the most prominent of many native leaders in the conflict.
The war began in May 1763 when Native Americans, offended by the policies of British General Jeffrey Amherst, attacked a number of British forts and settlements. Eight forts were destroyed, and hundreds of colonists were killed or captured, with many more fleeing the region. Hostilities came to an end after British Army expeditions in 1764 led to peace negotiations over the next two years. Native Americans were unable to drive away the British, but the uprising prompted the British government to modify the policies that had provoked the conflict.
Warfare on the North American frontier was brutal, and the killing of prisoners, the targeting of civilians, and other atrocities were widespread. The ruthlessness and treachery of the conflict was a reflection of a growing divide between the separate populations of the British colonists and Native Americans. Contrary to popular belief, the British government did not issue the Royal Proclamation of 1763 in reaction to Pontiac's War, though the conflict did provide an impetus for the application of the Proclamation's Indian clauses.[3] This proved unpopular with British colonists, and may have been one of the early contributing factors to the American Revolution.
Extends the Proclamation of 1763 Line - another example of Tyranny in the colonies - prevents expansion - Tyrannical Pope as bad as Tyrannical King.

The Quebec Act of 1774 (French: Acte de Québec), formally known as the British North America (Quebec) Act 1774,[1] was an act of the Parliament of Great Britain (citation 14 Geo. III c. 83) setting procedures of governance in the Province of Quebec. The Act's principal components were:
The province's territory was expanded to take over part of the Indian Reserve, including much of what is now southern Ontario, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and parts of Minnesota.
Reference to the Protestant faith was removed from the oath of allegiance.
It guaranteed free practice of the Catholic faith.
It restored the use of the French civil law for matters of private law, except that in accordance with the English common law, it granted unlimited freedom of testation. It maintained English common law for matters of public law, including administrative appeals, court procedure, and criminal prosecution.
It restored the Catholic Church's right to impose tithes.
The 1774 Act had wide-ranging effects, in Quebec itself, as well as in the Thirteen Colonies. In Quebec, English-speaking immigrants from Britain and the southern colonies objected to a variety of its provisions, which they saw as a removal of certain political freedoms. Canadiens varied in their reaction; the land-owning seigneurs and ecclesiastics were generally happy with its provisions although the populace resented their loss of liberties.[2][3]
In the Thirteen Colonies, the Quebec Act had been passed in the same session of Parliament as a number of other acts designed as punishment for the Boston Tea Party and other protests, which the American Patriots collectively termed the "Intolerable" or "Coercive Acts." The provisions of the Quebec Act were seen by the colonists as a new model for British colonial administration, which would strip the colonies of their elected assemblies. It seemed to void the land claims of the colonies by granting most of the Ohio Country to the province of Quebec. The Americans were especially angry that the Act established Catholicism as the state religion in Quebec.[4] The Americans had fought hard in the French and Indian War, and they now saw the provisions given to the former enemy as an affront.[5]
The Half-Way Covenant is a form of partial church membership created by New England in 1662. It was promoted in particular by the Reverend Solomon Stoddard, who felt that the people of the English colonies were drifting away from their original religious purpose. First-generation settlers were beginning to die out, while their children and grandchildren often expressed less religious piety, and more desire for material things.
Full membership in the tax-supported Puritan church required an account of a conversion experience, and only persons in full membership could have their own children baptized.[1] Second and third generations, and later immigrants, did not have the same conversion experiences. These individuals were thus not accepted as members despite leading otherwise pious and upright Christian lives.
In response, the Half-Way Covenant provided a partial church membership for the children and grandchildren of church members. Those who accepted the Covenant and agreed to follow the creed within the church could participate in the Lord's supper. Crucially, the half-way covenant provided that the children of holders of the covenant could be baptized in the church. These partial members, however, couldn't accept communion or vote.[2]
Puritan preachers hoped that this plan would maintain some of the church's influence in society, and that these 'half-way members' would see the benefits of full membership, be exposed to teachings and piety which would lead to the "born again" experience,and eventually take the full oath of allegiance.[3] Many of the more religious members of Puritan society rejected this plan as they felt it did not fully adhere to the church's guidelines, and many of the target members opted to wait for a true conversion experience instead of taking what they viewed as a short cut.[who?]