Maryland Toleration Act

Created in 1649

What was the Maryland Toleration Act?

The Maryland Toleration Act was a law mandating religious tolerance towards Christians and Christian denominations, passed on April 21st 1649 in Saint Mary City by the house of delegates. They were afraid that the protestant masses would oppress the Christian minority.

How did this help contribute to the development of democracy?

  • There were laws with punishments for speaking the Christian God's name in vain.
  • Officers enforced the laws and would follow through with the punishments.
  • This also influenced the "Freedom of Religion" portion in the American Bill of Rights.


The Maryland Toleration Act laid the foundation for what we know today as Freedom of Religion. This helps contribute to the development of democracy, because no matter your religion you have the right to vote and to participate in the government. You can not be persecuted or arrested based on your religion.

What were said punishments for insulting a Christian?

In certain circumstances, you could be punished by death.

How else did the Maryland Toleration act help to develop democracy?

The Maryland Toleration act helped to develop democracy because they created an act that would make life different for them than how it was in England. It would give the Christians more freedoms and less chances of being persecuted.

Do you work on Sundays?!

During this time period, if you swore, drank alcohol, or worked on a Sunday you would have to pay a certain fine depending on what you did. So take the day off!