A Puritan dissenter who founded Rhode Island

Exact DefinitionEdit

Roger Williams was an English theologian who came to Plymouth Colony in the 1630's because he disagreed with the teachings of the Church of England. He quickly fell into disfavor over a few of his opinions, including:

  • Plymouth settlers had no right to their land without paying Indians for it
  • Plymouth Puritanism was too close to Anglicanism
  • Church and state should be kept separate

He was exiled from Plymouth and founded Providence (Rhode Island), which Anne Hutchinson and her followers joined soon after.


Williams encouraged religious tolerance and the separation of Church and state, and is considered the first American to have done so. He felt that mixing the holy Church of God with the government of Man would be corruptive, and called for for the two to be completely separate. Providence (Rhode Island) was founded with the principles of separation and religious tolerance in mind.