While the Commonwealth was not the cartoonish inquisition its detractors make it out to be, the Cromwellian regime by no means approached what eventually became the understanding of toleration in the American republic.
So far, I have worked to argue that the English Reformed tradition had already become considerably less magisterial by the mid-seventeenth century. Next, I want to suggest that Cromwell’s move towards supporting a kind of multiple establishment had echoes in the early republic, first in the abortive attempts to create shared establishments that would support churches of various denominations, as was attempted by Jefferson’s enemies in Virginia, then by the creation of an informal evangelical establishment in which Presbyterians and Congregationalists played the central role.
The Promise and Peril of Disestablishment: Baptist and Reformed Political Theology in the New Republic
This essay briefly attempts to explore the major formational differences between Baptists and Reformed Christians in the American republic on the question of church and state.