Anne Hutchinson, The Feminist

Anne Hutchinson was born Anne Marbury in Alford, Lincolnshire, England in July 1591. She was the daughter of Bridget Dryden and Francis Marbury. Due to her father being a deacon, she was interested in religion and theology from the time that she was a young girl. She was home schooled, and mainly read her father’s books in their library. Growing up, she admired the assertiveness and ideals of her father. She never hesitated in questioning the principles the church had on authority and faith.

At 21, she married Will Hutchinson and continued to be interested in the church and theology. She is considered the country’s first feminist because, regardless of the traditional roles women played at the time, she was energetic, educated, and accomplished. She was the first woman to co-found a colony (Rhode Island). She started to hold Bible studies in her house around 1629 for women to learn about the literal meaning of the Bible. Soon, however, the group expanded the focus to discuss, as well as critique, the teachings of the pulpit.

An important issue that they criticized was the social and political system of the Puritans and how the people assumed that women wore inferior to men in God’s eye and law. News of the discussion spread and people would come to Hutchinson’s house. By the end of the news getting around, each session would consist of eighty people and it would include men as well as women. She would speak of the injustices women would face because of God’s law, and all those things would cause her to gain allies and enemies. In 1637, she was banished from Massachusetts for being found guilty of lewd conduct and blasphemy. She and her family moved to Rhode Island and then eventually Long Island. In 1643, a war between the Dutch settlers and Native Americans broke out and Hutchinson was killed with all but one of her children living with her (she had in total, 18 children).

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