Roger Williams

Hardcover | July 7, 2005

byEdwin S. Gaustad

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The founder of Rhode Island and of the first Baptist Church in America, an original and passionate advocate for religious freedom, a rare New England colonist who befriended Native Americans and took seriously their culture and their legal rights, Roger Williams is the forgotten giant amongthe first English colonists. Now, Edwin S. Gaustad, a leading expert on the life of Roger Williams, offers a vividly written and authoritative biography of the most far-seeing of the early settlers--the first such biography written for a general audience. Readers follow Roger and Mary Williams on their 1631 journey toBoston, where he soon became embroiled in many controversies, most notably, his claim that the colonists had unjustly taken Native American lands and his argument that civil authorities could not enforce religious duties. Soon banished for these troubling (if farsighted) views, Williams wandered forfourteen weeks in bitter snow until he bought land from the Narragansett Indians and founded Providence, which soon became a sanctuary for religious freedom and a refuge for dissenters of all stripes. The book discusses Williams' journey back to London, where he sought legal recognition of hiscolony, spread his enlightened views on Native Americans, and (alongside John Milton) fought passionately for religious freedom. Gaustad also describes how the royal charter of Rhode Island, obtained by Williams in 1663, would become the blueprint of religious freedom for many other colonies and afoundation stone for the First Amendment. Here then is a vibrant portrait of a great American who is truly worthy of remembrance.

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The founder of Rhode Island and of the first Baptist Church in America, an original and passionate advocate for religious freedom, a rare New England colonist who befriended Native Americans and took seriously their culture and their legal rights, Roger Williams is the forgotten giant amongthe first English colonists. Now, Edwin S...

Edwin S. Gaustad is Professor of History and Religious Studies Emeritus at the University of California at Riverside. An authority on Roger Williams and on the subject of religious freedom, he is the author of Liberty of Conscience: Roger Williams in America and Church and State in America, and is co-author of the award-winning The Ne...

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Church and State in America

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see all books by Edwin S. Gaustad
Format:HardcoverDimensions:160 pages, 5.79 × 8.31 × 0.79 inPublished:July 7, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019518369X

ISBN - 13:9780195183696

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"At once maddeningly original and disarmingly humane, Roger Williams championed Native American rights, church-state separation, and an independent judiciary when each was considered rank heresy. The justly noted historian Edwin S. Gaustad presents Williams's remarkable story instraightforward prose, without losing sight of its poetic power." --Forrest Church, author of The American Creed: A Biography of the Declaration of Independence and The Separation of Church and State: Writings on a Fundamental Freedom by America's Founders