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The Lake, Roger Williams Park
Rhode Island commemorated its founder with the Roger Williams Park, shown here in the early 20th century

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Roger Williams, Founder of Rhode Island, Arrived in Boston
February 5, 1631

Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island based upon principles of complete religious toleration, separation of church and state, and political democracy (values that the U.S. would later be founded upon). It became a refuge for people persecuted for their religious beliefs. Anabaptists, Quakers, and Jews settled in Rhode Island. After forming the first Baptist church in America, Williams left it to seek spirituality in different ways. He stopped preaching to his friends, the Indians, when he realized that their form of worship also fell under his principle of religious freedom. He declared, "forced worship stinks in God's nostrils." Williams's ideas were radical at the time, but can you imagine living in a place without religious freedom now?
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