Religious Pluralism In The United States Essays

The English Conquest of New Netherland a decade later further added to the diversity of the colony renamed in honor of the Duke of York, and English attempts to tame some of the religious and ethnic diversity of their new colony met with considerable resistance.

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African-Americans also sought independence from white churches, finding at least a measure or institutional autonomy in such organizations as the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Episcopal Methodist Zion Church, and, later, in the Moorish Science Temple of America and the Nation of Islam. I: To the Civil War) Asians began to arrive late in the nineteenth century, many to the West Coast to help with the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

The numbers of immigrants prompted the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and other Asians also met with resistance.

At other times, religious groups have accommodated to one another, as in the Middle Colonies, where rampant ethnic and religious diversity forced various groups to find some way to coexist.

New Netherland provides a particularly graphic example.Hudson failed in his search for a northwest passage to Asia, but he opened the way for immigration.The first group of settlers to disembark at Manhattan were Walloons, French-speaking Belgians, followed soon thereafter by a modest influx of Dutch, Germans, and French.Divining America Advisors and Staff Religious Diversity in America Randall Balmer Professor of American Religious History Barnard College, Columbia University ©National Humanities Center Ever since the first days of European settlement—and even before that with the wide variety of Native cultures—diversity has been one of the distinguishing features of religious life in North America.Sometimes the juxtaposition of religious groups created conflict, as when Spanish settlers sought to impose Roman Catholicism on the Pueblos in the Southwest, leading to the Pueblo uprising of 1680, seventy years after the founding of Santa Fe as the first European capital city in North America.Once again, Americans were confronted with religious diversity, as Islamic mosques, Shintō temples, Sikh Gurdwārās, Buddhist stupas, and Hindu temples literally transformed the religious landscape of the United States. But Americans tend, sooner or later, to rise to their better selves and make good the promises in our charter documents that everyone is created equal and enjoys “free exercise” of religion—or, if they prefer, no religion at all.Guiding Student Discussion American history generally—and American religious history in particular—tends to be presented through the lens of New England, especially in the colonial era.In 1524 Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian navigator in the service of France, discovered the inlet to what is now New York harbor through the Narrows that now bears his name.Nearly a century later, Henry Hudson, an Englishman under contract to the Dutch West India Company, nosed the Half Moon through the same Narrows and up the River later named in his honor.The notorious case of Bhagat Singh Thind, a Sikh whose application for citizenship in 1923 was denied because he was not considered “white,” eventually created pressure to redress that injustice; President Harry Truman signed the Luce-Cellar Act in 1946, which essentially reversed the Thind decision, although it retained quotas on immigrations from India.The movement for civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s paved the way for a greater acceptance of religious diversity, not only for African-Americans but for other Americans as well.


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