Why Is Anne Hutchinson an Important Historical Figure?

By the time of her death in 1643, Anne Hutchinson was known for her liberal political inclinations as well as her novel views of religion. She was born in England in 1591, but moved shortly afterwards with her family to the United States. The family took up residence in Massachusetts, where Hutchinson stayed until her banishment from Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1630s.

Hutchinson’s fascination with religion and faith derived from her father, who was a prominent clergyman. Hutchinson lived with her family in New England as a child, then married a merchant named William Hutchinson in 1612. The couple lived in Massachusetts and, while her husband worked, Hutchinson stayed busy organizing weekly meetings for women in the Boston area to gather for discussions of sermons and to hear her own concepts of faith.

While Hutchinson’s liberal religious views received words of praise from some, her ideas were criticized by many others. Governor John Winthrop, who was initially helped into office with a vote of support from Hutchinson, was one of her primary critics. Winthrop opposed her stance that the clergy had too much authority, and arranged for her trial at the General Court. Hutchinson was sentence to banishment in 1637, but did not leave the Colony until the following year when she was forced out.