The Pilgrims' Landing
An Introduction For Teachers
Religious tolerance was an important but often misunderstood contribution of the colonial era. Tolerance developed only after time. Groups such as the Pilgrims and Puritans who left Europe to escape religious persecution often were intolerant of religious diversity themselves once they established themselves in the New World.
It was a long road from Plymouth and the Massachusetts Bay Colony to the First Amendment of the Constitution. Religion and government, far from being separate, were viewed as intrinsically connected by the early colonists.
The Pilgrims were Separatists and radical Puritans who sailed aboard the Mayflower in 1620 and founded Plymouth Colony near what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts. They had originally left England for the religiously tolerant Netherlands, but left there for economic reasons and because their children were becoming more Dutch than English.