Divine Right was the concept of the unquestionable authority of monarch rule based upon the belief that their rule derived from “God’s will” during the colonial period. New waves of eighteenth century immigrants brought their own religious fervor across the Atlantic and the nation’s first major religious revival in the middle of the eighteenth century brought in new vigor into American religion. New groups of people migrated to the New World with ideas of a government, parallel to that of their mother country, England in which they had based their government on religious support rather than political. Colonial America began as an offspring of the English patriarchal government. The principles of Divine Right and the original beliefs of the colonists would have a strong influence on the formation of their new society.
Jonathan Mayhew preached the strict unity of God, the subordinate nature of Christ, and salvation by character. He bitterly opposed the Stamp Act, and urged the requirement of colonial union to secure colonial liberties. He supported the rule of the king and respected the government based on his religious perspective that it was in fact God’s will. Jonathan Boucher also believed that the people had to provide their obedience to the king and his authority from Parliament, which the colonists did. Boucher preached of the obligated respect and honor which the colonists were to show to the government because the government served as an agent to God. The New England colonies have often been called “Bible Commonwealths” because colonies sought the word of the scriptures in regulating all aspects of the lives of their citizens. Boucher justified the powers of the government with the constant reiteration that it was the work of God, so religious and pious men could not disagree.
The colonization of India and the immense transfer of wealth that moved from the latter to Britain were vital to the success of the British Empire. In fact, the Viceroy of British India in 1894 called India “the pivot of our Empire …” I examine the effects of the Industrial Revolution on the subcontinent. Besides highlighting the fact that without cheap labor and raw materials from India, the ...
Examples of how religion served as a major factor to the governments, as did in England, can be seen in many settlements in colonial America such as the Massachusetts Bay Colony and Plymouth. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was created with a strong foundation based upon the beliefs of Puritanism. The settlers allowed religion to play major roles in their every day lives such as the banishment of non-Puritan believers and denying political rights to men who did not attend Church. People such as Roger Williams became involved in these conflicts and were forced to leave the colony. Prior to the actual settlement of Plymouth, the settlers created a document entitled “The Mayflower Compact” in which they wrote that the highest authority belonged to that of God and sovereign. Therefore, religion also provided as a rationale to the formation of the government and the powers to which it had.
Religion became a dominant part of American politics. The Cambridge Platform was established in the 1640’s. This document was a part of the Puritan theology and adopted the Westminster Confession. In addition, the Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 by Thomas Jefferson. It embodied the doctrine of natural rights and John Locke’s theory of natural rights. The Declaration of Independence listed the grievances of the colonist toward the government and the wrongs done to the colonies by George III. It was also propaganda. The declaration was signed to achieve American independence but it was more than that. Not only was it a declaration of independence, it also sent out the message that human rights are to be fought for if they are not given. “They are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights”. People in new America responded to this statement mainly because they were religious and by bringing in the idea of the “creator” into the writing they now made this tied to the duties of religion. The document was more than just a declaration of independence. It was a struggle for human rights, religion being the primary rationale.
... autocratic. The pharaohs were both god and king. Religion taught the people to trust that ... of subservience to a higher power was established in their religion and played out in their government. The government of ancient Egypt was similarly ...
During the colonial era, both James II and George III emphasized their great power because they chose to use religion and God as their source. John Locke stressed that people were born free and entitled to life, liberty and freedom from oppressive leaders. However, people were unwilling to question the authority of God and continued believing in the power of the king. Although many did agree with Locke and challenged Britain’s sovereignty, others feared going against the monarch. Jonathan Mayhew was known for his beliefs such that loyalty and freedom parallel each other. Even Mayhew mentions that government is sacred and shouldn’t be questioned. Jonathan Boucher also preached that people are servants of God and government is God’s agent.
For the time being, many took this same path of obedience towards the king and didn’t criticize whether he was abusing his power at any point. People soon began to realize that in all actuality, they were not being represented fairly. Actions, such as revolts, boycotts and letters of grievances were did not occur promptly, but at a later period of time. It was difficult for so many people who live by Gods principles to turn away from what they have been brought up to live by.
All colonies in America were first created with charters issued by the king or Parliament which were brought to the new settlements, greatly influencing their development. Colonial America was founded upon many principles of religion shown among the settlements of the Quakers, the Protestants, the Puritans, the Catholics, etc. This was done because they set certain limits and freedoms according to the way they believed God meant to govern. The colonists used similar concepts to that of England which justified powers of the government with religious support and the supremacy of God as being a primary rationale of its authority. The King of England ruled by divine right, which forced people who were strong followers of their faith to submit to him. Thus, the king had secured his own position.
Source: AMSCO United States History – Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination by John J. Newman, John M. Schmalbach.