Feb 242010

“We do not mean to discourse with those of your sex”


Mother Of The First Amendment

ANNE MARBURY HUTCHINSON (1591-1643) Nurse, Midwife, Pioneer, Mother – of twelve or fifteen with nine or eleven surviving – (sources differ)

was not your average, quiet, submissive housewife and mother of the Colonial period. The daughter of a minister and Cambridge scholar, the family, and others, followed the preaching of John Cotton, a Protestant minister. They had issues with the Catholic Church, corruption being one, and disillusioned, embraced a new kind of “puritanical” religion. When she shared her dissenting views on religion with other people – specifically female people – she inadvertently inspired one of the most important conflicts of the entire seventeenth century – known as the Antinomian Controversy. Preaching – just to women – was a big no-no. It started out innocently enough.  She went to church and afterwards, she liked discussing the sermons.  Everyone did.  Thing was, the women were excluded from “certain meetings of religious discourse”. Being excluded from “certain meetings of religious discourse” that only the MEN could attend, Anne felt left out.  Who wouldn’t?  So she started what could be called the first “Girl’s Night Out” with weekly women only meetings.  No one minded at first, but then she got a little carried away, starting her OWN religious sect and got into a LOT of trouble.  She certainly endured one of the most famous (and god-awful – pun intended) trials in American history. She was convicted of heresy (an opinion or belief that contradicts established religious teachings) and sedition (actions or words intended to provoke or incite rebellion against government authority) and banished!  From the colony!  To Rhode Island!  Like Ralph Kramden’s Alice, Anne Hutchinson had a BIIIIIG mouth.  Her steadfast desire for freedom of speech and freedom to assemble absolutely contributed to the foundation for The First Amendment..