Unwelcome orthodoxy: Anglican ascendancy, peculiar partnerships, and the conquering of Congregationalist contempt in eighteenth-century Connecticut.
Interpreting anew the ascendancy of the Church of England in eighteenth-century New England from the perspective of its own members is vital to transmitting a balanced history of the religious climate in the region at the time. The common belief that Anglicans sought to impose their religious ideals on New Englanders, while not completely inaccurate, does not address the fact that churchmen began working within the framework of New England society and, more specifically, Great Awakening religious culture to draw outsiders into their fold. By partnering with disenchanted Christians of many varieties and seeking to spread the Christian religion among Native Americans, Anglicans took the initiative to compete for souls in the marketplace of religious ideas. Leaders of the established churches in Massachusetts and Connecticut viewed Anglican growth with trepidation. The thought of seeing the intolerance of seventeenth-century England revived in their midst was almost too much to bear.