Roger Williams
August 31, 2008 9:20 PM   Subscribe

I'm a direct decendent of RW (and most of my family hasn't left RI since the founding). He's definitely among the top 5 historical figures I'd love to meet in the event I should ever have access to a time machine!
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:43 PM on August 31, 2008

The May Lee Settle book "I, Roger Williams" is one of the best books I have ever read, I think.

It puts certain things I tended to think of as part of a modern liberal tradition in a much deeper richer context; its spans and humanizes a time in Western history that tends to be caricatured; and it introduced me to a complex and warm hero of political and legal history. It's a damn fine read, too.

These are all great links, thanks!
posted by freebird at 10:59 PM on August 31, 2008

Where's the whatcheernetop tag?
posted by mdonley at 11:09 PM on August 31, 2008

One guy who knows about Roger Williams is Slim Cessna. His daddy was a Baptist preacher and he knows the Bloudy Tenents.
posted by CCBC at 3:40 AM on September 1, 2008

The Root That Ate Roger Williams
posted by jammy at 5:26 AM on September 1, 2008

CCBC I came here to post about Slim too. He and the good people of the Auto Club certainly spin an excellent song. And even though you link to Roger Williams the You Tubes do not a pulpit make. Please refer the good people to
posted by Gungho at 6:38 AM on September 1, 2008

Nice post—Williams is definitely one of the underappreciated American heroes, even more so than Paine. Too bad he was such a rotten writer, but you can't have everything. And how often do you get to see the word "eleventhly," from The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution ["Revolution" link]? (By the way, if anyone's curious, tenent is an older form of tenet, from the 3rd person plural and 3 p. sing., respectively, of Latin tenere 'to hold.' The OED says "Etymologically a tenet ought to be the opinion of one, what he holds, a tenent the opinion of a number, what they hold; but this distinction, if ever observed in using the words as English, was soon lost. Tenent was apparently more used in the 17th c. than tenet, but became obs. c 1725.")
posted by languagehat at 6:42 AM on September 1, 2008

Every history teacher thought it was absolutely hilarious to give me my namesake as an essay topic, so I know quite a bit more about this particular Roger Williams than any of the others. Still, I like to tell people who bring it up that after founding Rhode Island I laid low for a bit, took up music, became quite a prominent piano player, decided to move into the sciences and among other things discovered vitamin B-12, and finally decided to take up the great American pastime of baseball, professionally. I get around I tell ya.

One of the subtler aspects of the colonial Williams' beliefs is that his belief in religious freedom arose from his own strict Puritanism; he believed that so few people would be among the chosen that it was obvious God had intended that His people must find a way to live civilly among the damned.
posted by localroger at 12:51 PM on September 1, 2008

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