Religious Toleration in America, 1660-1714
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Researching, in English archives, a book-length study of the growth of religious pluralism in colonial America. Treating toleration as a practice as much as an idea, it sets the creation and growth of colonies like New York and Pennsylvania within the religious and political context of the British Isles and other parts of the empire, from Jamaica to India, to determine just how exceptional or pragmatic the toleration in America was. Emphasizing the role of imperial politics in opening up new possibilities for toleration, the research also shows local efforts in America to restrict pluralism. In this crucial phase of the creation of American pluralism, religious toleration was far from universally accepted. It was contested in some areas, very limited in others, existing in different ways from one colony to another. By examining American developments within the context of the whole empire, this book shows that what we think of as distinctly American was actually an imperial product.