Monday, 19 October 2015

Anne Hutchinson

Picture of Anne Hutchinson
Anne Hutchinson
Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643) was a religious leader and midwife, who moved from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634. Her father was the dissenting Anglican clergyman Francis Marbury, from whom she received an education in theology and conscientious dissent.

Hutchinson and her husband began to follow the charismatic preaching of John Cotton. Cotton migrated to Massachusetts in 1633 following suppression for his puritan views. Due to this, Hutchinson persuaded her husband to emigrate to Boston, Massachusetts. It was here that she became the centre of the Antinomian controversy in 1636-37.

Hutchinson had organised discussion groups attended by dozens of women and men in her home. This was empowering especially to the women, who were supposed to remain quiet and subordinate to their husbands, especially in regards to matters of religion. Hutchinson's meetings were full of critical discussions about errors in sermons and the intolerant way in which the male leaders governed Massachusetts. These meetings threatened to split Massachusetts puritan society apart.

'Hutchinson believed that redemption was God's gift to his elect and could not be earned by human effort,' whereas the common teachings in the puritan colony was that 'God's grace could be earned through good actions.' It was these beliefs that brought Hutchinson before the General Court, with charges of a frontal attack on the spiritual authority of both the church and society. She claimed that God spoke to her directly, which gave the court grounds to punish her for blasphemy and heresy. She was banished from Massachusetts and eventually settled in what is now New York.

John Winthrop viewed Anne Hutchinson as a dissenter and denounced her meetings, stating that the women's meetings were "a thing not tolerable nor comely in the sight of God, nor fitting for your sex."

'When she settled in New Amsterdam, Anne’s neighbors told her to arm her household to defend against Indian raids. Anne responded that she had always had friendly relationships with the Indians. Though it was not a major theme in her trial, Anne had clashed with the Massachusetts Bay Colony over the notorious Pequot War (in which all of the Pequots were exterminated or enslaved)—a war Puritan leaders believed they had a right to wage because God had given them the new world.' - an excerpt from

Anne Hutchinson and six of her children were killed in an Indian raid in New Amsterdam in 1643.

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