The dominant religion in early Maryland was Protestantism, with a minority group of Catholics who fled to the colony to escape religious persecution. Though the colony was founded in 1634 by Cecillius Calvert, a Catholic, the turmoil between Protestants and Catholics escalated quickly.
Protestant leadership seized control of the colony's affairs after the death of Leonard Calvert in 1647, though it was quickly reclaimed by another Calvert, Cecil Calvert. The second Baron Baltimore, Cecil Calvert, thought that the concept of religious freedom was weakened by the lack of official law solidifying the concept. He wrote the Maryland Toleration Act, passed in April 21, 1649, to protect Christian rights, so long as those Christians believed in the Trinity. Those of different faiths or other Christian sects could be punished harshly under the law.