English Dissenters were Christians who separated from the Church of England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Dissenters opposed state interference in religious matters, and founded their own churches, educational establishments, and communities; some emigrated to the New World. They originally agitated for a wide-reaching Protestant Reformation of the Established Church, and triumphed briefly under Oliver Cromwell.
King James I of England, VI of Scotland had said "no bishop, no king"; Cromwell capitalised on that phrase, abolishing both upon founding the Commonwealth of England. After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the episcopacy was reinstalled and the rights of the Dissenters were limited: the Act of Uniformity 1662 required Anglican ordination for all clergy, and many instead withdrew from the state church. These ministers and their followers came to be known as Nonconformists, though originally this term referred to refusal to use certain vestments and ceremonies of the Church of England, rather than separation from it.
American History USA Articles
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