Roger Williams

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Roger Williams (c. 1603–between January and March 1683) was a theologian and co-founder of Rhode Island.

He arrived in Massachusetts in early 1631, but his individualism and support of separation between the religious and civil authorities was not widely accepted in the Puritan society.[1]

Williams also argued that the Native Americans owned the surrounding land, and thus the king's land grants were invalid. Instead, Williams claimed that the land should be purchased from the Indians by settlers.[2]

Ultimately these unpopular and heretical opinions led the General Court of Massachusetts to expel him from the colony. So in 1635, Williams and over twenty families from Salem went South and formed the settlement of Providence, buying the land from Indians and establishing religious liberty.[3]

Among his works are The Bloody Tenent of Persecution for the Cause of Conscience Discussed (1644), and its sequel, The Bloody Tenent Yet More Bloody.



  1. Rothbard, 183
  2. Rothbard, 184
  3. Rothbard, 185–186

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