E/MS Unit II

Activity 2: High Cost of Following Other Religious Beliefs

Have students work in groups of three or four. Each group will focus on one individual or group whose religion the Puritans banned. Print out and distribute to each group one of the following primary sources: Comments on Roger Williams’s views, the law banning Catholic priests, the excerpts concerning Anne Hutchinson, and the painting of Mary Dyer on her way to be hanged. Students working on Mary Dyer should also read the Mass Moment on the Puritans’ attitude toward Quakers.

Students reading about Mary Dyer should answer:

  1. What was the Puritans’ attitude toward the Quakers? Why?
  2. What did Puritans do to prevent Quakers from becoming part of their communities?
  3. What did Mary Dyer do that angered the Massachusetts authorities? How did the authorities respond?

Have students answer the questions that appear with the copy of the painting.

After each group reports on the primary source it studied, have the whole class discuss:

  1. What did they find surprising about the individual or religious group?
  2. Were the Puritans’ actions in keeping with what they considered their covenant (their agreement) with God? Why or why not?
  3. Which attitude toward other religions is more common, that of the Puritans or that of someone like Roger Williams? (Students may be surprised to learn that well into the 1900s, Catholics were forbidden to enter any building of worship other than a Catholic church.)
  4. What is the relationship between the state legislature (still called the General Court) and religion today?