1915 USA: Anne Hutchinson Statue

Anne Hutchinson
photo by B.A. Cotton

In 1915, a statue of Anne Hutchinson was unveiled on the south lawn of the Massachusetts State House. The statue cost $15,000 was funded by the Anne Hutchinson Memorial Association and the State Federation’s of Women’s Club to honor Anne Hutchinson as “a courageous exponent of civil liberty and religious toleration.”

Anne Hutchinson was a follower of Rev. John Cotton though she lived in Alford, Lincolnshire and had to travel over 25 miles each way to hear him preach. When Cotton fled England for Massachusetts in 1633, Anne Hutchinson and her family followed in 1634. In 1637, Anne was charged with heresy and sedition. At a time when women could not vote, hold public office, or teach outside the home, the charismatic Hutchinson wielded remarkable political power though she was a forty-six-year-old midwife pregnant with her sixteenth child. Her unconventional ideas attracted a following of prominent citizens eager for social reform. Hutchinson defended herself brilliantly, but the judges, faced with a perceived threat to public order, banished her for behaving in a manner “not comely for [her] sex.”

Her story illuminates the origins of our modern concepts of religious freedom, equal rights, and free speech, showcasing an extraordinary woman whose achievements are astonishing by the standards of any era.

 

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