Essay on Colonial America

Essay on Colonial America

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(11) Identify Roger Williams, the origins of Rhode Island and his essay: The Bloody Tenents of Persecution. Explain how he contributed to freedom of religion, thought, speech, and conscience.
Roger Williams was the founder of Rhode Island. Before that, he was a bright young man who had been attracted to the land of Plymouth. His religious views contradicted that of the Massachusetts Bay Colony leaders. After numerous disagreements, Williams was expelled and was threatened to be sent back to England. However, a few months later, he settled near Providence. He preached and lived with the Indians. He even argued for them later on that because the Christian doctrine preaches against stealing, the State of England should not seize their land. After having founded the First Baptist Church of America, Williams struggled to defend his personal beliefs. Then in 1644, Williams received a charter from the King of England to colonize there Indian lands. Later on, Rhode Island became a popular place for the Quakers and Jews who were fleeting from religious persecution.

Although his views of being a Baptist and a seeker contradicted that of the Puritans, Roger Williams preached throughout the Rhode Island colony of religious toleration. The people who followed his preaching valued respect toward religions other than their own. As a result, Roger Williams also encouraged religious freedom. Later on he also introduced the idea of the separation of the church and the state in a government in his book The Bloudy Tenet of Persecution. He specifically called for the toleration of all Christian denominations as well as Catholicism and Judaism. In addition, Williams points to the Through his interpretation of the Bible, Williams argued that C...


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...hat they form a social contract in which their rights are secured under this form of government. These ideas changed the way the American colonists viewed government. Their opinions were drifting towards independence from Britain. Furthermore, John Locke’s philosophies and the ideas of the Enlightenment influenced Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence. The document uses the idea of the Natural Law and justifies the reasons for escaping Great Britain’s rule. His idea of representative government was also pivotal to the evolution of a democratic government in the colonies. The ideas of the social contract also explained why the colonies decided to break away from England. The use of many of these terms in the American Constitution as well as the later adaptation of the Bill of Rights was all examples of the influence of the occurrences in Europe.

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