“I have always been interested in the Roger Williams, who is the founding father of the state in which I live (Rhode Island). He is one of those interesting figures of history that left a legacy while also having major points of their lives, such as birth and death, lost to time. This was a short, but interesting, work by a professor emeritus of the University of California at Riverside.
Williams was an Englishman who went to Oxford to become a minister before making his way to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was not there for too long before he had started to get in trouble. He ran afoul of the civilian an religious leaders for three reasons: his thoughts on the idea of religious freedoms, the separation of church and state, and the rights and property ownership of the land by the Native Americans. After a trial, he was basically evicted from the Massachusetts Bay Colony after moving back and forth between Boston, Salem, and Plymouth. Upon leaving made his way south and west and settled at the northern point of the future Narragansett Bay, creating the town of Providence. Other "rebels" would join him in the future capital city as well as settling Portsmouth and Newport on Aquidnick (also called Rhode Island at the time) and Warwick. Williams would return twice to England to obtain and protect a charter for the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations that guaranteed religious freedoms.
Not surprising considering the fact that the author is a historian and a specialist in religious studies, much of the book focuses on Williams views on religion. I found it particularly interesting that Williams often pointed to the fact that New Englanders often left England due to religious persecution only to settle and set up theocratic leadership that continued to do jut the same to others. Williams not only supported freedoms for the various sects of Christianity, but also for Jews Muslims, and non-believers ... people of all religious perspectives.
This was a pretty interesting presentation of Williams' life. I must admit that I am not sure it would have broad appeal simply because it is a really specialized work focusing on a person of local import. With that said, his views likely played a big role in America's future views on the concepts of religious freedom. It is definitely worth a read.”