Roger Williams (Banished)

On this approximate date in 1635, Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for advancing the notion that the civil state should not enforce religious injunctions. Fleeing with four others and enduring deprivations in the wilderness, Williams settled in 1636 at a site in Rhode Island that he named Providence. Williams established a colony where Baptists like himself, Quakers and other nonconformists were welcomed. The settlement was chartered in 1663 by the British crown. The charter promised "no person within the said colony . . . shall be in any wise molested, punished, disquieted or called in question for any differences in opinion in matters of religion, and do not actually disturb the civil peace of our said colony." Today the Roger Williams National Memorial can be found on 4.5 acres of landscaped park on the grounds of the original settlement.

“God requireth not an uniformity of Religion to be inacted and inforced in any civill state.”

—Roger Williams' The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution, for Cause of Conscience. (Cited by Leo Pfeffer in Church State and Freedom)

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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