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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Roger Williams Letter

Students should read the letter by Roger Williams regarding his views of the Mass. Bay Colony.  Afterwards, comment on anything you find interesting, you question, or you need more clarification on.

20 comments:

Caitlin said...

Through this letter written by Roger Williams, it seems like he was a very religious and fair man. I found that interesting because although there may have been quite a few men with these beliefs on religious freedom, not many had the courage to follow them or speak up about it. I did not quite understand what Williams meant when he talked about the people aboard the ship and him not denying any of the points he listed on the second page.

Jess said...

Through this letter, Roger Williams showed how fair and ahead of his time he was. He believed that everyone should be able to practice their own faith and that everyone was equal to God. He didn't slam the other religions. Instead, he accepted them and their different ideas.
Roger Williams was a man who seems as though he was only trying to live a life of freedom when it came to religion. He didn't appreciate others trying to convert him, so he didn't push his fauth on others. To me, he seems like the right person to have founded and led Rhode Island.

cvalenti2 said...

It was particularly interesting to read the introduction before the letter sent from Roger Williams because it states that in moving to Rhode Island, Williams wanted to establish a sanctuary for all faiths to be freely practiced, including the Jewish religion. This struck me as interesting because in most cases we previously studied, religious toleration did not extend to Jews or Atheists who were often persecuted and oppressed for their beliefs. Therefore, Roger Williams was clearly genuine in his pursuits of constituting freedom of faith in the Rhode Island colony because he did not exclude fidelities of certain religions and respected all, no matter their beliefs or who they worshiped.
"[T]hat none of the Papists, Protestants, Jews and Turks be forced to come to the ship's prayers or worships, nor compelled from their own particular prayers or worship, if they practice any." is stated by Williams in the letter and it demonstrates his support towards religious freedom. After reading this I gained respect for Roger Williams because it shows that he didn't force anyone to participate in anything that they didn't want to do, unlike most others in colonial times who constantly enforced their religious beliefs upon others in an attempt to convert them. In addition, I also appreciate this quote from him because it must have been hard to want to provide religious freedom in the Rhode Island colony in that time period when so many people were against allowing any faith to be practiced other than their own.
~Sarah Valenti

Krista said...

After reading this letter I am lead to believe that although Roger Williams is not as well know as George Washington, Ben Franklin, or Thomas Jefferson he played one of the most important roles in shaping the U.S.A. His ideas formed the basis of the rights that we take for granted today, like the freedom to practice any religion without persecution. I did not understand what was meant when Williams wrote, "That ever I should speak or write a tittle, that tends to such an infinite liberty of conscience, is a mistake, and which I have ever disclaimed and abhorred." I figured of that tittle maens a small amout but it was no help :(

Diana said...

After reading this letter, I found it interesting that Williams was able to group various religions into one colonial settlement (Providence, Rhode Island), unlike other states that would mostly only accept one religion into their town. I felt that Williams was a very daring individual who didn't really care what other colonies thought about his ideas of combining people with different faiths into one settled area. Williams created Rhode Island in terms of creating a colony in which it could pursue religious freedom for any one who went there, and that's what made Williams such a unique founder of a colony. Although many colonists from different areas were uncertain about the idea of letting people decide which faith to follow, Williams still ensured the fact that it was a good idea and it allows the people to have religious freedom.

michellepleban said...

This letter shows Rodger Williams passion to achieve freedom of religion. It is interesting to start seeing people go against the grain. When settlers first started coming to America they had their religion. But then when more cultures came, it started the beginning of America's "mixing bowl". With more religions people started converting. It was very brave of Williams to protest for religious freedom. It's easy for people to go with the crowd, but he risked his life standing up for what is right. I understood this letter until he started talking about the seamen and passengers. Is he trying to say that no matter who practices what everyone should be respected?

matthew said...

I found this letter by Roger Williams interesting because he compared a ship to a colony that he wanted. Instead of talking about the population in a colony, Roger used a ship to portray an ideal colony in his view. He believed that no one should change their religion to one religion that everyone aboard the ship (living in the colony) has to follow. The only time Roger believed people were wrong was when they rebel and do not help the entirety of the ship, and it's peoples. It's important he felt this way because America as a whole now tolerates all religions, like Roger wanted in 1655, when he arrived to the town of Providence in Rhode Island.

Mike said...

What I find interesting about this letter in particular is that Roger Williams was a fair man that believed in equal rights as a believer of any religion. The whole comparison of the ship-to-colony effect was interesting as well, and it served its purpose to get the meaning across. Some of the wording in this letter confused me, especially the very opening sentence that says, "That ever I should speak or write a tittle, that tends to such an infinite liberty of conscience, is a mistake, and which I have ever disclaimed and abhorred." I have come to a translation of my own saying "If I should speak or write a short letter, that tends to such a great amount of the mind and liberty, it is a mistake and I loathe it." This still doesn't make much sense to me, however,despite me not understanding this, it is still apparent that he understood that one shouldn't be judged for beliefs, and it shouldn't break up the stability of a colony, or nation. -Mike Espinell

C.Slotter said...

Roger Williams' letter reveals his genuine passion for religious toleration. Unlike many settlers, Williams had the courage to stand up for what he believed in and make a difference. Williams was willing to sacrifice his freedom in order to create a sanctuary for all people, regardless of their religious beliefs. This is important to today's society, because it laid the foundations for religious toleration throughout the entire U.S.
I especially admired Williams encouragements for Mass. Bay Colonists to stand up to their government and fight for the right to their religion. This emphasizes how much can be achieved when citizens stand up for what they believe in. Through his courage and faith, Roger Williams was able to become a prominent historical figure who can be credited with introducing our country to religious toleration, and who helped give all colonists an equal chance upon entering the New World.

Jeanette said...

Reading Roger William's letter was pretty interesting, because he had such strong views on religious freedom. As I was reading, it surprised me how he spoke up about this subject, even though this was not common for a pilgrim to do. I like how he encorporated the need for common laws in his views; he wanted "justice, peace, and sobriety" to be practiced, no matter what religion. This is good, since it doesn't give the people the right to stray away from values altogether, even if there is religious freedom; the core values of the pilgrims are still there.

jennaaxrae18 said...

According to this letter, Roger Williams appears to be very religiously tolerant. This shows that he was one of the first people to encourage individuality when it came to beliefs. He was very brave to speak his mind, considering punishment usually followed opinion back then. He uses a ship as an example to make what he's trying to say more understandable and I thought the way he worded it was very effective. I admire that Williams was able to be honest with the town of Providence on the topic of religion. He didn't seem to believe in forcing religion upon another person which not only made sense, but was very fair. What I admire most about this situation is that he wasn't afraid to shed light on what he believed was best when it came to worship and it's brave people like that who shape America to this day. -Jenna Ryan

Becky said...

Roger Williams is an early example of our founding fathers. He believes that it does not matter what anyone believes as long as that individual does their part. Today in America no matter race, gender, religion, or anything else each person gets an equal chance to be whatever they choose as long as they follow the rules. That's what Williams believes. This is a radical idea for 1655. I really would like to know how someone breaks away from the kind of elitest thinking that society was

mrowl12345 said...

I like the idea that Roger Williams supports religious freedom, because things like that were rare for their time and different religions were not tolorated in society. I also find it interesting that although he supports religious freedom he seems like a very religious man himself. He likes the idea that on his particular ship there are so many people with many different religions, but even though they have different religions, it occurs to him that they all have the commen goal in mind to reach a new life in america. His letter shows his two strong opinions on religios freedom "that none of the Papists, Protestants, jews or turks be forced to come to the ships prayer or worship nor compelled from their own particular prayers or worships if the prectice any." which means they should not be forced onto any religion or on their own religion if they so choose and he. he also said " command that justice, peace, and sobriety be kept and practiced both amoung seamen and all the passengers" Which means no matter the religion all people should try and just be good, and good to eachother. Lastly he says "becasue all are equal in christ,therfore no masters, no laws or orders, nor corrections or punishments" which means that even for those who do follow christianity, christ says all are equal, and that no one should be singled out, and not one is better than the other. Views of tollorence like this would have been able to stop tradgedies such as the mystic massacre.

tboroski44 said...

When I first read that Roger Williams supported religious toleration, I thought of his as a kind of rebel. However, there are multiple questions that I have about him. Why was he so tolerant of these "inferior and blasphemous" religions when the rest of his society wasn't? Also, of what religious background was he? Was he a Puritan? Was he a Protestant? Did he practice Atheism? I believe that the answer to that question could lead to the answer of the first question.

amanda said...

Much like Winthrop, Roger Williams was an inspiring and religiously devoted man. However, Roger seems like to hold a more demanding tone of voice in his letter. He seems ready to fight for his cause and sure that there is reason to stand up those who are intolerant of certain religious views. Furthermore, Roger Williams uses faith to back up his arguments. He is fighting for religious independence and to back up his thoughts he states that "all are equal in Christ." Although his letter seems somewhat demanding, he comes across as a peaceful man, after all isn't that what he's ultimately fighting for? Peace, justice, freedom...

sukhmeetkohli said...

After reading this letter, I found it interesting how Roger Williams believed in equality within all religions. This was very important because the idea of religious tolerance in the U.S. has been carried from then to present day. This letter shows that Roger had a lot of courage because many people were too afraid to express their feelings, and Roger was able to that without any hesitation. He also didn't care what others' beliefs were, and thats why he never enforced his own beliefs into others.
-Sukhmeet

BigBri said...

This letter opens with an overview of what is going on at the time; which religious differences are amongst the town of Rhode Island. What I find interesting about this article, like all old letters, is that this letter has been saved for so long. People from the past kept letters like this because at the time, they thought they would be of great significance in the future.
At the closing of the letter they talk about thinking women were "witches". Who ever came up with thinking others were witches? And who came up with the things the people have to do in order to be named a witch or human?

mike51095 said...

I found it very creative that Roger Williams compared religeous freedom in the colonies to the passengers on a ship. The passengers are like the people in the colony, the ship is the colony itself, and the commander of the ship is like the church leaders in the colonies. I also find it very suprising that Roger Williams was frowned upon for his views on religeous freedom becuse modern America is based on theses very same principles. -Mike Signore

smurftastic44 said...

It seems as if Roger Williams was very religious, but also tolerated other people’s beliefs. Williams was brave for outwardly expressing his thoughts on the separation of church and state. Unfortunately most people were still dedicated to tradition, and as a result he was banished. It was unfair of Minister John Cotton Sr. to banish him, and if he listened to Williams, the Massachusetts Bay Colony would have been much more successful. However, the narrow-minded way of life spread throughout the colony and women were constantly being accused of witchcraft. Even though Roger Williams’ letter didn’t make an impact, it shows us how most people thought at that time. –Christine Murphy

Ross said...

I found myself, after reading this letter, thoroughly astonished by Roger Williams. At this time in the United States religious tolerance was an extremely rare occurrence and not only did Roger Williams fully believe in this practice but he also proposed a complete separation of church and state, an idea that succeeded in getting him banished from the Massachusetts Bay colony and i would imagine almost killed as well. Another fact that simply shocks me is the ease in which colonies could be built. Shortly after being banished from the Massachusetts Bay colony Roger Williams picks up, moves to providence and there starts a colony in which there is full religious tolerance. This freedom must have been incredibly liberating for anyone living in the New World and i think helped shape what this country has become in the eyes of its citizens, and the thoughts of others around the world, a place where freedom rings true.

- Ross Barreiro