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When did Roger Williams establish a policy of religious freedom?

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September 13, 2011 7:06PM

Rhode Island: New England Colony

The Puritans of Massachusetts gained religious freedom, but it was a liberty they kept to themselves. They set up a government that required everyone in the colony to worship in the same way

When a young minister named Roger Williams began preacching different ideas, the Puritans put him on trial. Williams believed that all the people should be able to worship in any way they chose. "Forced woship," he declared, "stinks in God's nostrils."

The Puritans ordered Williams sent back to England. Instead, on a cold winter day in 1636, he left his wife and children and fled south. After trudging through snow for days, he met a group of Indians near the Narragansett Bay. The Indians cared for him until spring. When his family and a few followers joined him, Williams bought the land from the Indians for a settlement. He called it a Providence, a wird meaning "the guidance and care of God."

Roger Williams welocmed people with different religious beliefs. Two years after he and his followers settled Providence, a colonist named Anne Hutchinson was also forced to leave Massachusetts for preaching against the Puritans. She and her flamily followed Williams and established a settlement called Portsmouth. In 1647, these and other settlements became the colony of Rhode Island.

The ideal freedome in Rhode Island did not extend to enslaved Africans. Sea Merchants soon discovered the richeds that could be made in the Slave Trade. As a result, Rhode Island became one of the largest slave-trading in the world/ Slace trading helped make the fortunes of some of the wealthiest families in New England. At the same time, the isolated coves along the Rhode Island coast provided perfect hiding places for pirates and their stolen goods.

Puritans in other colonies were disgusted by these activities. Teverend Cotton Mather of Boston called Rhode Island "the sewer of New England." To these Puritans Rhode Island represented people and ideas that they rejected from their own communities. Using a word that implied "criminals" they invented their own name for the colony: "Rogues' Island."

Rhode Island: New England Colony

The Puritans of Massachusetts gained religious freedom, but it was a liberty they kept to themselves. They set up a government that required everyone in the colony to worship in the same way

When a young minister named Roger Williams began preacching different ideas, the Puritans put him on trial. Williams believed that all the people should be able to worship in any way they chose. "Forced woship," he declared, "stinks in God's nostrils."

The Puritans ordered Williams sent back to England. Instead, on a cold winter day in 1636, he left his wife and children and fled south. After trudging through snow for days, he met a group of Indians near the Narragansett Bay. The Indians cared for him until spring. When his family and a few followers joined him, Williams bought the land from the Indians for a settlement. He called it a Providence, a wird meaning "the guidance and care of God."

Roger Williams welocmed people with different religious beliefs. Two years after he and his followers settled Providence, a colonist named Anne Hutchinson was also forced to leave Massachusetts for preaching against the Puritans. She and her flamily followed Williams and established a settlement called Portsmouth. In 1647, these and other settlements became the colony of Rhode Island.

The ideal freedome in Rhode Island did not extend to enslaved Africans. Sea Merchants soon discovered the richeds that could be made in the Slave Trade. As a result, Rhode Island became one of the largest slave-trading in the world/ Slace trading helped make the fortunes of some of the wealthiest families in New England. At the same time, the isolated coves along the Rhode Island coast provided perfect hiding places for pirates and their stolen goods.

Puritans in other colonies were disgusted by these activities. Teverend Cotton Mather of Boston called Rhode Island "the sewer of New England." To these Puritans Rhode Island represented people and ideas that they rejected from their own communities. Using a word that implied "criminals" they invented their own name for the colony: "Rogues' Island."