Given that escape from religious persecution was a primary factor behind migration to America, it is hardly surprising that the colonies exhibited diversity of religious observance. The strict Puritanism of the early settlements, particularly Massachusetts, spawned new ‘dissenting’ splinter groups. New England would remain predominantly Congregationalist, with a religious meeting-house in every town, and the highest rates of church attendance in the colonies. The Middle Colonies were established on principles of religious tolerance. Pennsylvania was founded by a Quaker, Maryland as a refuge for Catholics, New Jersey promoted religious freedom in its 1665 Concession and Agreement. Accordingly, they became the destination of choice for persecuted minorities: Moravians, Mennonites, and many more. While Anglicanism was dominant in Virginia, the other southern states were religiously diverse, and Georgia was founded in 1732 with freedom of religious practice. In the 1730s, the ‘Great Awakening’ religious revival swept the colonies, bolstering church attendance.
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