Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty

Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty

by John M. Barry
Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty

Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty

by John M. Barry

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Overview

A revelatory look at how Roger Williams shaped the nature of religion, political power, and individual rights in America.

For four hundred years, Americans have wrestled with and fought over two concepts that define the nature of the nation: the proper relation between church and state and between a free individual and the state. These debates began with the extraordinary thought and struggles of Roger Williams, who had an unparalleled understanding of the conflict between a government that justified itself by "reason of state"-i.e. national security-and its perceived "will of God" and the "ancient rights and liberties" of individuals.

This is a story of power, set against Puritan America and the English Civil War. Williams's interactions with King James, Francis Bacon, Oliver Cromwell, and his mentor Edward Coke set his course, but his fundamental ideas came to fruition in America, as Williams, though a Puritan, collided with John Winthrop's vision of his "City upon a Hill."

Acclaimed historian John M. Barry explores the development of these fundamental ideas through the story of the man who was the first to link religious freedom to individual liberty, and who created in America the first government and society on earth informed by those beliefs. The story is essential to the continuing debate over how we define the role of religion and political power in modern American life.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101554265
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/05/2012
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: eBook
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 304,036
File size: 8 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

John M. Barry is the author of four previous books, including the highly acclaimed and award-winning Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Part I The Law 7

Part II The Covenant 79

Part III The New World 145

Part IV The Wilderness 211

Part V The Mission 255

Part VI Soul Liberty 297

Part VII The Test 347

Afterword 388

Acknowledgments 397

Notes 399

Bibliography 427

Index 439

What People are Saying About This

Joe Nocera

"To call it a biography sells it short. What it is, really, is the history of an ideaabout the critical importance of separating church from state. So revolutionary was this idea that it caused Williams to be banished from Massachusetts. . . . Williams created the first place in the Western world where people could believe in any God they wishedor no God at allwithout fear of retribution."

From the Publisher

“Roger Williams is one of those figures, famous but forbidding, who hover at the periphery, imposing, important, indispensable to our history and culture and yet still distant, unknown to most Americans … and yet Williams may be … the one whose breath gives life to modern American culture and whose fingerprints are most evident on the American Constitution. The task of reviving Williams has fallen happily to John M. Barry, chronicler of the great influenza of 1918 and the great Mississippi flood of 1927.”

The Seattle Times

 “Roger Williams deserves our thanks for his courage to fight for religious freedom and individual liberty with his very life at a time when few thought it anything but the rankest heresy. And John Barry deserves our thanks for illuminating this critical and timely chapter of American history … Barry tells the story with passion and an eye for fine detail.”

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