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Log in through your institution. Many women of color stood before Bermuda's court on charges of unlawful sex during the seventeenth century.
But beginning in the s, they disappeared from such prosecutions. This disappearance had more to do with changing relations of church and state than with either an overall decline of religion or a turn against the notion that people of color could be Christians in favor of the belief that they were merely property. Bermuda's prohibitions of extramarital sex, unlike those of most other English colonies, continued not to differentiate by racial or religious labels until the Act against Bastardy decreed that white women convicted of interracial sex could no longer escape corporal punishment by paying a fine.
Neither case law nor the act described interracial sex as more of a defilement than other kinds of unlawful sex. The law did not use religious distinctions to define racialan omission that implicitly recognized the Christianity of Bermudians of color. Long familiarity between white Bermudians and those they enslaved may not have mitigated the corrosive effects of Naked people Bermuda other humans as property, but it does seem to have removed the debate about whether Africans and Indians—or at least those particular Africans and Indians who were Bermudian—could be Christians.
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Journal Information A leading journal in early American history and culture, the William and Mary Quarterly publishes refereed scholarship in history and related disciplines from initial Old World—New World contacts to the early nineteenth century.Naked people Bermuda
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