Anne Hutchinson Contribution

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Towards the end of the unrest, that would become known at the Antinomian controversy, John Winthrop, a founder of Puritan Massachusetts, wrote a letter concerning the exiled dissenter Anne Hutchinson. In his first sentence, he coined the term that hundreds of years later would inspire the works of countless historians. “American Jezebel,” has become synonymous with Anne Hutchinson, a woman in Puritan New England who boldly stood up for her religious beliefs in a society where women were expected to be meek and obedient to male authority. Many American students first hear of Anne Hutchinson in High School but few realize the tremendous transformation her reputation has had over the past hundred years. Her contemporaries in New England treated …show more content…
Winthrop himself was no fan of educated and outspoken women, having previous criticized the wife of the governor of Connecticut for spending too much time reading and writing. He referred to Anne as “a woman of a haughty and fierce carriage,” although also, “in understanding and judgement, inferior to many women.” Ben Barker-Benfield wrote that, “The subordination of women could make men feel they were like God,” if this is true, clearly Winthrop and the men who supported him had no patience for a mere female who thought herself the theological equal of …show more content…
Just as the previous Puritan leaders had argued that they had no need of an intermediate official (king, priest, etc.) so too did Hutchinson believe her religious experience, as a woman, was no lesser than a man’s. The Antinomians were threatening to the existing structure because their beliefs mixed masculine roles with female individuals. To the Bay authorities Hutchinson and her large female following were like “a host of new Eves, threatening the social and theological order imposed by the new Adams.” Barker-Benfield incorporates the literary legacy of Anne Hutchinson, claiming that Hester Prynne of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is directly inspired by Hutchinson. The similarities are present between the two but the differences are also broad. While Hutchinson and Prynne certainly both consider themselves to be the equals of their male counterparts, Prynne actually did commit the act of adultery, while Hutchinson technically did nothing biblically worthy of her

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