Friday, October 9, 2009

Get On Your Boots! Roger Williams Banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony

This post is dedicated to Rhode Islanders wherever you may be (including my mom, now a begrudging Connecticut resident). On October 9, 1635, Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Williams was a man who was uncompromising in his beliefs. His devotion to conscience led to the founding of one of the most historically rich, if smallest, states. (read on to see that there is no need for an inferiority complex).

Roger Williams emigrated to the colony in 1630, and brought with him ideas which proved controversial to some other members. One such idea was what is now known as the separation between church and state. Members of the Bay Colony believed that religious infractions (ie betraying any of the ten commandments etc) were to be punished by civil authority. Williams disagreed with this idea, and went on to state that people should have religious freedom to believe what they wanted and to not be punished for it by law. These ideas and others proved too dangerous for the colony, and Williams was expelled in 1635. Williams and a dozen followers settled on lands that were secured from Native Americans, to whom Williams was sympathetic. He founded Providence Plantation on the principle of equality, especially the idea of religious freedom. His settlement attracted a wide variety of groups looking to live in peace without fear of prosecution. Further emphasizing this devotion to equality, what came to be known as the colony of Rhode Island passed the first law in North American to make slavery illegal on May 18, 1652. So take pride Rhode Islanders, today marks an important day in the history of your fair state.

[Image via electricscotland]


  1. Hey Hisotry Girl- really cool site-Just finished reading "Sons of Providence" abotu the Brown brothers of Rhode island during the colonial period by Charles Rappleye-pretty good.

    For some history, music, ghost stories, and preservation, all in one place, checkout

    happy Halloween!

  2. Hey Scott,

    Thanks for checking out my site! I enjoyed reading some of the ghost stories on yours as well. Keep up the good work and happy holloween!