The Church of England in Early America | National Humanities Center

TeacherServe Essays

The Church of England in Early America

By Heyrman, Christine Leigh (NHC Fellow, 1985–86)

Although the Church of England (also known as the Anglican Church, and, today, as the Protestant Episcopal Church) commanded the loyalties of a great many churchgoers in early America, its history has received relatively little treatment from historians—especially compared with the attention lavished on the Puritans. True, the Church of England in the colonies suffered from a sluggish rate of growth and a shortage of clergymen throughout much of the seventeenth century. But in the century before the American Revolution, that communion’s fortunes prospered: Anglican churches spread along the length of the Atlantic seaboard, the largest concentration being in the coastal South. In these colonies, Anglicanism also enjoyed the advantage of being the established, state-supported church, as it had been in England since the sixteenth century.

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History / Education Studies / American History / Christianity / Anglicanism / Thirteen Colonies /