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A PRE-HISTORY TO AMERICA Motives for coming to America.

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1 A PRE-HISTORY TO AMERICA Motives for coming to America

2 Henry VIII  Henry VIII became king in 1509 when his father died.  He obtained permission from the Pope to marry his brother’s (Arthur, previous heir to the throne) widow, Catherine of Aragon.  In 1521, Pope Leo X gave Henry the title of Defender of the Faith due to his written affirmation of the supremacy of the Pope.

3 A Male Heir  Henry had one child with Catherine, a daughter, Mary.  Due to the fact that Catherine was too old to have any more children, Henry asked the Pope for an annulment so he could marry someone else who would give him a male heir, namely Anne Boleyn.  The Pope refuses Henry.  In 1533, Henry broke with the church and married an already pregnant Anne Boleyn.

4 Church of England  With the help of Thomas Cromwell, Henry becomes head of the Church of England.  This means the king has control over religious appointments and decisions, not the pope.  This allowed Henry to marry and divorce anyone he wishes.

5 A Male Heir Continued  In 1533, Anne gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth (who will become Queen Elizabeth I.) She failed to provide Henry with a male heir so he had her beheaded for adultery.  Henry marries Jane Seymour who gives birth to Edward in 1537, however she dies soon after.  Henry will go on to marry German princess Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr before dying in 1547.

6 Henry’s Legacy  Protestantism replaces Catholicism as the major religion in England.  Uncertainty in the Royal Succession.  Edward dies at 15, after which the throne goes to Mary, then Elizabeth and then to Scottish King James I.  Radical religious reformers emerge, known as the Puritans, as they wished to purify the Church of England of the “vestiges of Roman Catholicism”.  Some tried to reform the church from within while others separated themselves and started new churches.

7 The Separatists  James I ( ) was very disdainful of these “Separatists”, thus many experienced strong persecution.  A small group of Separatists fled England, first to the Netherlands (1609) and then later to America (1620).

8 Why is this history important?  Henry’s break with the Roman Catholic Church paved the way for Protestantism.  Protestantism, caused the Separatists to form.  Their radical views caused them to flee England, eventually coming to America.  Once in America, their beliefs and past fears influenced the way they acted and wrote literature.

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10 Works Cited Belasco, Susan and Linck Johnson, eds. Bedford Anthology of American Literature: Beginnings to Boston: Bedford St. Martins, Print. “Henry VIII.” BBC News. BBC, Web. 21 Aug


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