Who Was Roger Williams?


Quick Answer

Roger Williams was a theologian and religious and political leader who advocated for the separation of church and state. Williams was born in London, England in 1603 and came to the New World in 1631.

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Full Answer

He founded the state of Rhode Island after establishing a settlement on Narragansett Bay on land he purchased from the Narragansett Indians. Rhode Island became a mecca for religious freedom for Jews, Quakers, Baptists and those of other religious sects.

It was Williams' idea of a "wall of separation" between the state and the church that inspired the United States' founders. This idea was incorporated into the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights nearly 100 years after he died.

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