Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul

Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul

Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty

eBook - 2012
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Penguin Putnam
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.

Baker & Taylor
A revelatory analysis of the 17th-century theologian's integral role in shaping early America's religion, political power and individual rights places his story against a backdrop of Puritanism and the English Civil War while providing coverage of such subjects as Edward Coke and the evolving debate on the separation of church and state. By the award-winning author of Rising Tide.

Publisher: 2012
ISBN: 9781101554265
Branch Call Number: E-Book


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Jan 22, 2018

well written and researched, but a somewhat obscure historical figure

Oct 17, 2016

This is an easy read, dealing with a fundamental principle to our freedom in the modern world.

Mar 09, 2012

One of the best books I've read this year. The author is clearly supportive of Mr. Williams' view of liberty, especially liberty of conscience, but he is scrupulous in presenting all sides in a fair manner. He is not interested in demonizing one position or the other, but in understanding how early Americans perceived the proper relationship between Church and State, the spiritual and the secular. And as the author points out, this is a relevant subject today, over 300 years later. Highly recommended.


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