Skip to content

The Overlooked Origins of Religious Liberty in Early America: Protestant Encounters with the Religions of the World

Regular price $22.00


From 1650 through 1760, English descriptions of the religions of the world – vividly pictured in engravings, dictionaries, and travel narratives – underwent a remarkable change. They began with unabated criticism of non-Protestant religions: Native American traditions as satanic, Islam as violent, and Roman Catholicism as idolatrous. During the mid-eighteenth century, in contrast, they lauded the moral mindsets of many Native Americans, admired the learning within many Islamic sects, and applauded the kindness of many Roman Catholics. Pushed by the need to consolidate loyalty to an increasingly pluralistic empire, they looked especially for notions of liberty of religious choice and toleration in all religious traditions. In New England, such changes affected their interactions – in trade, military affairs, and missionary encounter – with Native Americans. This presentation, based on the new book, The Opening of the Protestant Mind, describes and explains such changes.

A historian of religion in early America, Mark Valeri is the Reverend Priscilla Wood Neaves Distinguished Professor of Religion and Politics and Professor of History (courtesy) at Washington University in St. Louis. His PhD is from Princeton University, and he has held long-term fellowships at the American Antiquarian Society and the Huntington Library. He is the author of Heavenly Merchandize: How Religion Shaped Commerce in Puritan America (Princeton University Press) and of The Opening of the Protestant Mind: How Anglo-American Protestants Embraced Religious Liberty (Oxford University Press).

The talk will take place on Tuesday, February 27 from 4:00 to 5:30 pm at the Manchester Community Library, and also online via live stream.

Ticket Type

Added to cart

Would You Like to Make a Donation?

By making a donation, your support helps us keep registration fees affordable while enabling us to pay our instructors, rent space for our programs, cover costs of technical assistance, offer scholarships, and pay for advertising.

Powered by Donation Pop