As I conclude this telling of Anne Hutchinson’s story, I am more driven to “Remember the Ladies…” Hutchinson’s life is but one in a vast and deep ocean of history, and has, with all admitted luck, been as well-preserved as any man’s. While she holds a special place of the hearts and minds of Americans, nearly 400 years after her demise, she is only the beginning of an ongoing timeline.
For religion in America, she represents tolerance, along with her contemporary, Roger Williams. For race relations, she represents peaceful coexistence, as evidenced by her good friendships with Indian tribes surrounding Rhode Island. For gender, she stood her ground in the face of rigid boundaries and limitations. For America, she helped forge a new settlement built on tolerance and equality. That settlement has not disappeared from the New World, and it has only expanded and strengthened from the steady march of time. Built on reason, progress, and honesty, we live in the legacy of the Puritans–and their dissenters.
Beyond appreciating or sympathizing with Anne Hutchinson, we must thank her. It is only because of her hardships that we may look back in dismay and horror at our complicated history, and know that we have made progress. We look to that rocky New England shore, that “city upon a hill,” even today, in an effort to find inspiration in our humble reverence of the past. We look to Hutchinson and others, too. So, I implore you, as we grow further and further from our historical roots as a nation and a culture, please “Remember the Ladies…”