Unless you are up on Colonial American history, you have never heard of Anne Hutchinson. She was the first woman in American history (unless you count the baby girl Virginia Dare of the lost colony of Roanoke, and Pocahontas of the Jamestown colony, who left an impression in our history books, and the first one to really challenge male control over affairs in America.
This episode was one I can't recall seeing - but it looks fascinating, with Wendy Hiller as Hutchinson, Neil Hamilton (the Police Commissioner in BATMAN, and a leading man in late silent films), and Rhys Williams in the cast. But the story is of interest in showing Puritan power in it's first real crisis.
Under the leadership of John Winthrop (Hamilton) the Massachusetts Bay Colony actually managed to set itself up into a viable government, which, within the limits of it's theology, was democratic with town meetings. But it was dominated by the men. All questions of the day were handled by the clergy and elected leaders, led by Governor Winthrop. Winthrop is an interesting study himself. Due to the religious beliefs of his Calvinist Puritans, and the dangers of the colonial world, he was a harsh taskmaster for everyone to hold it together. But Winthrop was actually sympathetic to some of the "rebels" he faced - he realized they brought up interesting points that he was not prepared to deny. When Roger Williams insisted that you could not force people's consciences to accept the Puritan dogma that Winthrop and the Clergy pushed, Williams went into exile into the wilderness (into what became Rhode Island). Winthrop managed to get some food and supplies to Williams, so he did not die before he could reach various Indian tribes that were friendly.
It was different with Hutchinson - she was a woman, of course, and her confrontation (which led to a public examination and trial) was that she dared give interpretations of biblical law on her own. This was a serious heresy, and it led to Hutchinson being kicked out of the colony with her family.
She ended up in the Dutch colony of Nieuw Amsterdam, in what is now the Bronx and Westchester counties. Unfortunately, in the middle of Indian warfare in 1641, Hutchinson and her family were attacked and she and several others killed. Her name is recalled by the Hutchinson River Parkway in the Bronx.
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