The Magazine

Tough Love

In colonial New England, the ideal was not freedom but conformity.

May 21, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 34 • By EDWARD ACHORN
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Before his execution at Salem in 1692, the much-admired Rev. George Burroughs recited the Lord’s Prayer without stumbling on the words, something it was thought impossible for a true witch to do. Cotton Mather soothed the crowd with the observation that “the Devil has often been transformed into an Angel of Light.” Page after page of this made me grateful that the Founders, however much they revered their ancestors and shared elements of their Christian faith, created a country founded on liberty and the jealously guarded rights of the individual.

Edward Achorn, deputy editor of the editorial pages at the Providence Journal, is the author of Fifty-nine in ’84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had.