American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans

Eve LaPlante. Here’s what I wrote as a blurb for work:

Occasionally meandering and repetitive, this biography tells nonetheless a riveting tale of the civil and religious foundations of American culture. Nearly half the book is taken up with accounts of her two trials—one civil in November 1637, one ecclesiastical in March 1638—and attendant flashbacks to fill in the who’s who of colonial Massachusetts. Transcripts from the trials provide a rare glimpse into the religious thought of a seventeenth‐century Puritan woman of uncommon intelligence, religious faith, and bravery. A visionary and radical Calvinist, Hutchinson outraged her Boston neighbors by not only teaching at women’s gatherings in her home but also challenging the fitness of male ministers. Claiming divine revelation, Anne said, “It was revealed to me that [some] should plot against me, and I should meet with affliction. But the Lord bid me not to fear.” After betrayal by her mentor the Rev. John Cotton, banishment, a four‐month incarceration apart from her family, and excommunication from the First Church of Boston, Anne Hutchinson still declared, “The Lord judges not as man judges. Better to be cast out of the church than to deny Christ.”

Six months into her sixteenth pregnancy, 46‐year‐old Anne walked in early April 1638 from present‐day Quincy, Massachusetts, to Providence, Rhode Island, in six days, and then went on to Aquidneck to join her husband and other exiles in the creation of Portsmouth. Four years later, following the death of her husband, she moved her family yet again. To escape expanding English control, she resettled in Pelham Bay in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, where she and her family were a year later killed by the native Siwanoy.

2 Replies to “American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans”

Comments are closed.