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Home > History > Religion in the 13 colonies

Religion in the 13 colonies

This page describes the role of religion in colonial America.
Salem, Massachusetts Meeting House
Salem, Massachusetts Meeting House

Religion was a central part of the lives of most colonists. Most villages and cities had churches or meetinghouses. Houses of worship varied depending on location in the colonies.

Religion in the Three Colonial Regions

In New England, the Puritan population practiced religion in meetinghouses - multi-purpose buildings that served not only as houses of worship, but for political and social functions as well. Puritans practiced a “pure” form of Christianity and followed strict rules that governed their lives. Puritans were generally intolerant of other religion groups, or of “radicals” who spoke out against their ways. In the middle colonies, different religious groups practiced in different establishments. Religious diversity was highest here, and there were practicing populations of Quakers, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Catholics, Lutherans, Jews, and others. People in the southern colonies practiced their religions in traditional looking religious establishments. While most citizens belonged to the Church of England, there were different sects of Christianity such as Anglicans and Baptists.

As Time Passed...

Gradually, however, the direct affect of religion on politics and government began to fade in the colonies as the number of religious groups and their populations increased. By the time the Constitution was written, the separation between church and state had been completed.

13 Colonies Artisans and Trades Articles and Activities

13 Colonies Artisans and Trades


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