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""The Double Threat of Anne Hutchinson""
"The Double Threat of Anne Hutchinson"
Justin Rech
The General Court of the Massachusetts Bay colony sentenced Anne Hutchinson to banishment from the colony because they considered her a religious dissident. The charges against her were both vague and obscure. In reality, Mrs. Hutchinson represented a double threat for the government and the church of the colony. Her religious ideas challenged both the Puritan orthodoxy in New England, and the traditional role of women in Massachusetts' Puritan society.

Although the New England Puritans believed that men and women were spiritually equal, that does not imply that they believed they were equal in other means. Each member of the colony knew its role and its place in society. Wives, as the author says, "were expected to help with the supplement of their husbands' public activities."#

As mentioned before, women dynamically participated in religious activities in order to strengthen Puritanism in the colony. Nevertheless, they were not considered religious leaders; they just followed what the church ordered. Winthrop believed that, "women should be submissive and supportive, like his wife and sister, and there was ample support for his position in the Bible."# In a way they thought God designed women to serve their husbands. This placed women in a position below men, which in consequence meant that women were subjugated to what men decided, and it is important to note that church was lead by men. Therefore women did not have a voice or a vote regarding religious matters.

Wheeler mentions that Winthrop called Hutchinson a person of "nimble wit and active spirit and a very voluble [fluent] tongue."#Authorities in the colony feared Anne's ability to promote and lead a growing number of women and men; they saw this as a threat to their own

authority over the colony, and they could not tolerate that kind of behavior.

Mr. Winthrop said to Anne that she...

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