Keeping Secrets: 1600-1800
The Diary of Michael Wigglesworth
At a time when religious ideas shaped the law, the European colonies of North America set harsh penalties for homosexual activity. Yet as they settled, the Spanish, French, and British encountered native cultures that allowed for expressions of same-sex love. Within the colonies as well, there is evidence of same-sex activity despite the violence of the law. In Massachusetts, a Puritan minister named Michael Wigglesworth struggled with the conflict between his religious beliefs and his sexuality, setting his feelings down in the encoded pages of his diary.