What can the trial of Anne Hutchinson tell us how some colonists were treated?

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What can the trial of Anne Hutchinson tell us how some colonists were treated?

Edited from A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn, Chapter 6

“Anne Hutchinson was a religious woman….She went against the leaders of the Puritan Church in the early years of the Massachusetts Bay Colony by insisting that she, and other ordinary people, could explain the Bible for themselves. A good speaker, she held meetings to which more and more women came (and even a few men), and soon groups of sixty or more were gathering at her home in Boston to listen to her criticisms of local ministers……Anne Hutchinson was put on trial twice: by the church for heresy, or speaking out against their ideas, and by the government for challenging their authority. At her civil (government) trial she was pregnant and ill, but they did not allow her to sit down until she was close to collapse. At her religious (church) trial she was interrogated for weeks, and again she was sick, but challenged their questioners with expert knowledge of the Bible and remarkable speaking.”

The Trial of Anne Hutchinson (Adapted Version)

Source: www.annehutchinson.com/anne_hutchinson_trial_010.htm

Word Bank

Separatist-becoming an independent preacher with different ideas

Distinguish-tell the difference between two things.

Condemn-Attack, criticize

Persecute-discriminate against

Providence-God’s power


Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: If you please to give me leave I shall give you the ground of what I know to be true. Being much troubled to see the falseness the Church of England, I have turned Separatist. Since that time I confess he hath left me to distinguish between the voice of my beloved and the voice of Moses, the voice of John the Baptist and the voice of antichrist, for all those voices are spoken of in scripture. Now if you do condemn me for speaking what in my conscience I know to be truth I must commit myself unto the Lord.
Mr. Nowel (assistant to the Court): How do you know that was the spirit?
Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: How did Abraham know that it was God that bid him offer his son, being a breach of the sixth commandment?
Dep. Gov. Thomas Dudley: By an immediate voice.
Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: So to me by an immediate revelation.
Dep. Gov. Thomas Dudley: How! an immediate revelation.
Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: By the voice of his own spirit to my soul. Therefore, I desire you to look to it, for you see this scripture fulfilled this day and therefore I desire you as you tender the Lord and the church and commonwealth to consider and look what you do. You have power over my body but the Lord Jesus hath power over my body and soul; and assure yourselves thus much, you do as much as in you lies to put the Lord Jesus Christ from you, and if you go on in this course you begin, you will bring a curse upon you and your posterity, and the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. But now having seen him which is invisible I fear not what man can do unto me.
Gov. John Winthrop: Daniel was delivered by miracle; do you think to be deliver'd so too?
Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: I do here speak it before the court. I look that the Lord should deliver me by his providence.
Gov. John Winthrop: I am persuaded that the revelation she brings forth is delusion
Audience: All the court but some two or three ministers cry out, we all believe it--we all believe it.
(Mrs. Hutchinson was found guilty)
Gov. John Winthrop: The court hath already declared themselves satisfied concerning the things you hear, and concerning the troublesomeness of her spirit and the danger of her course amongst us, which is not to be suffered. Therefore if it be the mind of the court that Mrs. Hutchinson for these things that appear before us is unfit for our society, and if it be the mind of the court that she shall be banished out of our liberties and imprisoned till she be sent away, let them hold up their hands.
(All but three did so)
Gov. John Winthrop: Mrs. Hutchinson, the sentence of the court you hear is that you are banished from out of our jurisdiction as being a woman not fit for our society, and are to be imprisoned till the court shall send you away.
Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: I desire to know wherefore I am banished?
Gov. John Winthrop: Say no more. The court knows wherefore and is satisfied.

1. Why did Mrs. Hutchinson become a “Separatist”?

2. What does she claim about the voices she heard?

3. What does the court decide?

4. In your opinion, why does the court take this action?

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