What Was The Maryland Toleration Act?

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Long before the First Amendment was adopted, the assembly of the Province of Maryland passed “An Act Concerning Religion,” also called the Maryland Toleration Act of 1649. The act was meant to ensure freedom of religion for Christian settlers of diverse persuasions in the colony.

  1. The law made it a crime to blaspheme God, the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Mary, or the early apostles and evangelists.
  2. It also forbade one resident from referring to another’s religion in a disparaging way and it provided for honoring the Sabbath.
  3. Maryland was settled by George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, (pictured above) who was a Roman Catholic, so the law has sometimes been interpreted as a means of providing Roman Catholics with religious freedom.(Image via Archives of Maryland, painted by John Alfred Vinter circa 1881, public domain) Long before the First Amendment was adopted, the assembly of the Province of Maryland passed “An Act Concerning Religion,” also called the Maryland Toleration Act of 1649.

The act was meant to ensure freedom of religion for Christian settlers of diverse persuasions in the colony.

What was the Maryland Toleration Act quizlet?

The Maryland Toleration Act was a document created in 1649, that provided religious freedom to all Christians living in Maryland. Maryland became a haven for persecuted Catholics from England. Soon after Protestant farmers outnumbered them and held a majority in marylands assembly.

What did the Toleration Act do?

Toleration for nonconformists In 1689, after much debate, Parliament passed the Toleration Act ‘ to unite their Majesties Protestant subjects in interest and affection ‘. It allowed most dissenters – though not all – the freedom to worship publicly, provided they took a simplified version of the oath of allegiance.

What caused the Maryland Toleration Act?

Toleration Act

Part of English Civil War and Protestant Revolution of Maryland
A small broadside reprint of the Maryland Toleration Act
Date April 21, 1649
Location Maryland Colony
Also known as Act Concerning Religion
Participants Colonial Assembly of Maryland
Outcome Repealed in October 1664

The Maryland Toleration Act, also known as the Act Concerning Religion, the first law in North America requiring religious tolerance for Christians, It was passed on April 21, 1649, by the assembly of the Maryland colony, in St. Mary’s City in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.

  • It created one of the pioneer statutes passed by the legislative body of an organized colonial government to guarantee any degree of religious liberty.
  • Specifically, the bill, now usually referred to as the Toleration Act, granted freedom of conscience to all Christians.
  • The colony which became Rhode Island passed a series of laws, the first in 1636, which prohibited religious persecution including against non-Trinitarians; Rhode Island was also the first government to separate church and state.) Historians argue that it helped inspire later legal protections for freedom of religion in the United States.

The Calvert family, who founded Maryland partly as a refuge for English Catholics, sought enactment of the law to protect Catholic settlers and those of other religions that did not conform to the dominant Anglicanism of Britain and her colonies. The Act allowed freedom of worship for all Trinitarian Christians in Maryland, but sentenced to death anyone who denied the divinity of Jesus,

  • It was revoked in 1654 by William Claiborne, a Virginian who had been appointed as a commissioner by Oliver Cromwell ; he was an Anglican, a Puritan sympathizer, and strongly hostile to the Catholic Religion.
  • When the Calverts regained control of Maryland, the Act was reinstated, before being repealed permanently in 1692 following the events of the Glorious Revolution, and the Protestant Revolution in Maryland.

As the first law on religious tolerance in the British North America, it influenced related laws in other colonies and portions of it were echoed in the writing of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which enshrined religious freedom in American law. Cecil Calvert, proprietor of the Maryland colony when the Maryland Toleration Act was passed The Maryland colony was founded by Cecil Calvert in 1634. Like his father George Calvert, who had originated the efforts that led to the colony’s charter, Cecil Calvert was Catholic at a time when England was dominated by the Anglican Church.

  1. The Calverts intended the colony as a haven for Catholics fleeing England and as a source of income for themselves and their descendants.
  2. Many of Maryland’s first settlers were Catholic, including at least two Catholic priests, one of whom became the earliest chronicler of the colony’s history.
  3. But whatever Calvert’s intentions, Maryland was a colony of an Anglican nation.
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Its charter had been granted by an Anglican king and seems to have assumed that the Church of England would be its official church. Anglican and later Puritan newcomers quickly came to outnumber the early Catholic settlers. Thus, by 1649 when the law was passed, the colonial assembly was dominated by Protestants, and the law was in effect an act of Protestant tolerance for Catholics, rather than the reverse.

  • From Maryland’s earliest days, Cecil Calvert had enjoined its colonists to leave religious rivalries behind.
  • Along with giving instructions on the establishment and defense of the colony, he asked the men he appointed to lead it to ensure peace between Protestants and Catholics.
  • He also asked the Catholics to practice their faith as privately as possible, so as not to disturb that peace.

The Ordinance of 1639, Maryland’s earliest comprehensive law, expressed a general commitment to the rights of man, but did not specifically detail protections for religious minorities of any kind. Peace prevailed until the English Civil War, which opened religious rifts and threatened Calvert’s control of Maryland.

  • In 1647, after the death of Governor Leonard Calvert, Protestants seized control of the colony.
  • Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, quickly regained power, but recognized that religious tolerance not specifically enshrined in law was vulnerable.
  • This recognition was combined with the arrival of a group of Puritans whom Calvert had induced to establish Providence, now Annapolis, by guaranteeing their freedom of worship.

Partially to confirm the promises he made to them, Calvert wrote the Maryland Toleration Act and encouraged the colonial assembly to pass it. They did so on April 21, 1649.

Why was the Maryland Toleration Act significant and what were its limitations?

Key Points in the Toleration Act – The Maryland Toleration Act was not a blanket permission to practice any religion. There were many limitations and stipulations that were included in the act, including limiting acceptable religions to practice, outlining punishments and fines for breaking law, and giving the Assembly the right to withdraw the religious tolerance at any time.

Who benefited from Maryland’s Toleration?

Maryland Toleration Act; September 21, 1649 The Maryland Toleration Act of 1649 ensured religious freedoms to Christian settlers of different denominations who settled in Massachusetts. Lawmakers hoped that it made Massachusetts a more desirable location for immigration and was the first law to protect religious freedom in the Thirteen Colonies.

An Act Concerning Religion.Forasmuch as in a well governed and Christian Common Weath matters concerning Religion and the honor of God ought in the first place to bee taken, into serious consideracion and endeavoured to bee settled, Be it therefore ordered and enacted by the Right Honourable Cecilius Lord Baron of Baltemore absolute Lord and Proprietary of this Province with the advise and consent of this Generall Assembly:That whatsoever person or persons within this Province and the Islands thereunto helonging shall from henceforth blaspheme God, that is Curse him, or deny our Saviour Jesus Christ to bee the sonne of God, or shall deny the holy Trinity the father sonne and holy Ghost, or the Godhead of any of the said Three persons of the Trinity or the Unity of the Godhead, or shall use or utter any reproachfull Speeches, words or language concerning the said Holy Trinity, or any of the said three persons thereof, shalbe punished with death and confiscation or forfeiture of all his or her lands and goods to the Lord Proprietary and his heires.

And bee it also Enacted by the Authority and with the advise and assent aforesaid, That whatsoever person or persons shall from henceforth use or utter any reproachfull words or Speeches concerning the blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of our Saviour or the holy Apostles or Evangelists or any of them shall in such case for the first offence forfeit to the said Lord Proprietary and his heirs Lords and Proprietaries of this Province the summe of five pound Sterling or the value thereof to be Levyed on the goods and chattells of every such person soe offending, but in case such Offender or Offenders, shall not then have goods and chattells sufficient for the satisfyeing of such forfeiture, or that the same bee not otherwise speedily satisfyed that then such Offender or Offenders shalbe publiquely whipt and bee imprisoned during the pleasure of the Lord Proprietary or the Lieutenant or cheife Governor of this Province for the time being.

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And that every such Offender or Offenders for every second offence shall forfeit tenne pound sterling or the value thereof to bee levyed as aforesaid, or in case such offender or Offenders shall not then have goods and chattells within this Province sufficient for that purpose then to bee publiquely and severely whipt and imprisoned as before is expressed.

And that every person or persons before mentioned offending herein the third time, shall for such third Offence forfeit all his lands and Goods and bee for ever banished and expelled out of this Province. And be it also further Enacted by the same authority advise and assent that whatsoever person or persons shall from henceforth uppon any occasion of Offence or otherwise in a reproachful manner or Way declare call or denominate any person or persons whatsoever inhabiting, residing, traffiqueing, trading or comerceing within this Province or within any the Ports, Harbors, Creeks or Havens to the same belonging an heritick, Scismatick, Idolator, puritan, Independant, Prespiterian popish prest, Jesuite, Jesuited papist, Lutheran, Calvenist, Anabaptist, Brownist, Antinomian, Barrowist, Roundhead, Separatist, or any other name or terme in a reproachfull manner relating to matter of Religion shall for every such Offence forfeit and loose the somme of tenne shillings sterling or the value thereof to bee levyed on the goods and chattells of every such Offender and Offenders, the one half thereof to be forfeited and paid unto the person and persons of whom such reproachfull words are or shalbe spoken or uttered, and the other half thereof to the Lord Proprietary and his heires Lords and Proprietaries of this Province.

But if such person or persons who shall at any time utter or speake any such reproachfull words or Language shall not have Goods or Chattells sufficient and overt within this Province to bee taken to satisfie the penalty aforesaid or that the same bee not otherwise speedily satisfyed, that then the person or persons soe offending shalbe publickly whipt, and shall suffer imprisonment without baile or maineprise untill hee, shee or they respectively shall satisfy the party soe offended or greived by such reproachfull Language by asking him or her respectively forgivenes publiquely for such his Offence before the Magistrate of cheife Officer or Officers of the Towne or place where such Offence shalbe given.

And be it further likewise Enacted by the Authority and consent aforesaid That every person and persons within this Province that shall at any time hereafter prophane the Sabbath or Lords day called Sunday by frequent swearing, drunkennes or by any uncivill or disorderly recreacion, or by working on that day when absolute necessity doth not require it shall for every such first offence forfeit 2s 6d sterling or the value thereof, and for the second offence 5s sterling or the value thereof, and for the third offence and soe for every time he shall offend in like manner afterwards 10s sterling or the value thereof.

And in case such offender and offenders shall not have sufficient goods or chattells within this Province to satisfy any of the said Penalties respectively hereby imposed for prophaning the Sabbath or Lords day called Sunday as aforesaid, That in Every such case the partie soe offending shall for the first and second offence in that kinde be imprisoned till hee or shee shall publickly in open Court before the cheife Commander Judge or Magistrate, of that County Towne or precinct where such offence shalbe committed acknowledg the Scandall and offence he hath in that respect given against God and the good and civill Governement of this Province, And for the third offence and for every time after shall also bee publickly whipt.

And whereas the inforceing of the conscience in matters of Religion hath frequently fallen out to be of dangerous Consequence in those commonwealthes where it hath been practised, And for the more quiett and peaceable governement of this Province, and the better to preserve mutuall Love and amity amongst the Inhabitants thereof, Be it Therefore also by the Lord Proprietary with the advise and consent of this Assembly Ordeyned and enacted (except as in this present Act is before Declared and sett forth) that noe person or persons whatsoever within this Province, or the Islands, Ports, Harbors, Creekes, or havens thereunto belonging professing to beleive in Jesus Christ, shall from henceforth bee any waies troubled, Molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof within this Province or the Islands thereunto belonging nor any way compelled to the beleife or exercise of any other Religion against his or her consent, soe as they be not unfaithfull to the Lord Proprietary, or molest or conspire against the civill Governement established or to bee established in this Province under him or his heires.

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And that all and every person and persons that shall presume Contrary to this Act and the true intent and meaning thereof directly or indirectly either in person or estate willfully to wrong disturbe trouble or molest any person whatsoever within this Province professing to beleive in Jesus Christ for or in respect of his or her religion or the free exercise thereof within this Province other than is provided for in this Act that such person or persons soe offending, shalbe compelled to pay trebble damages to the party soe wronged or molested, and for every such offence shall also forfeit 20s sterling in money or the value thereof, half thereof for the use of the Lord Proprietary, and his heires Lords and Proprietaries of this Province, and the other half for the use of the party soe wronged or molested as aforesaid, Or if the partie soe offending as aforesaid shall refuse or bee unable to recompense the party soe wronged, or to satisfy such fyne or forfeiture, then such Offender shalbe severely punished by publick whipping and imprisonment during the pleasure of the Lord Proprietary, or his Lieutenant or cheife Governor of this Province for the tyme being without baile or maineprise.

And bee it further alsoe Enacted by the authority and consent aforesaid That the Sheriff or other Officer or Officers from time to time to bee appointed and authorized for that purpose, of the County Towne or precinct where every particular offence in this present Act conteyned shall happen at any time to bee committed and whereupon there is hereby a forfeiture fyne or penalty imposed shall from time to time distraine and seise the goods and estate of every such person soe offending as aforesaid against this present Act or any part thereof, and sell the same or any part thereof for the full satisfaccion of such forfeiture, fine, or penalty as aforesaid, Restoring unto the partie soe offending the Remainder or overplus of the said goods or estate after such satisfaccion soe made as aforesaid.

Who did the Toleration Act protect?

Toleration Act, (May 24, 1689), act of Parliament granting freedom of worship to Nonconformists (i.e., dissenting Protestants such as Baptists and Congregationalists). It was one of a series of measures that firmly established the Glorious Revolution (1688–89) in England.

What was the purpose of the Toleration Act of 1649 quizlet?

The Religious Toleration Act of 1649 was passed by the Maryland Assembly and granted religious freedom to Christians. It is important because it paved the way for freedom of religion in America. Pocahontas was the daughter of the chief of the Powhatan Indians.

Who passed the Maryland Toleration Act?

Cecil Calvert, the first proprietor of the Province of Maryland and the 2nd Lord Baltimore, wrote the Maryland Toleration Act of 1649, prohibiting discrimination of Trinitarian Christians.