Anne Hutchinson was a woman who held unorthodox views about the Puritan doctrine of predestination. She was very logical in her arguments, keeping the prosecutors from coming to a clear verdict until she spoke about her revelation with God. The prosecutors charged her with disrupting the public and the church and inappropriately assembling at her house a meeting that was not acceptable in the Bay Colony society at the time.
These charges, although they may seem absurd today, were part of the common belief of where women belonged in society at the time: doing quiet housework and avoiding the discussion of “men’s topics” such as legal issues and politics. Anne Hutchinson defends herself by stating that she preaches a covenant of grace instead of a covenant of works, which she believes to be wrong. She also makes an analogy between herself and Abraham; that both of them had a revelation from God before breaking the covenant. As a result, right after she spoke of her revelation, Governor Winthrop banished Hutchinson from the Bay Colony.
This decision may have been influenced by sexism (male supremacy), indignation towards her heretical views, or simply fears that what she says is true but they do not want to go against their beliefs and church. Although they may not have known it at the time, the people in that courthouse established the foundation for the question of religion in the age of skepticism: is religion real and how do we know? Hutchinson’s defiance of the church and of the societal norms would play an instrumental role in constructing intrinsic freedoms of religion and speech, and later on, civil rights for women.