The Erimtan Angle

“Williams was really America’s first individualist, the first contradictor of authority, the first rebel,” explains John M. Barry, author of Roger Williams and The Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty.

While best known as the founder of Rhode Islandand for being a leading proponent of a “wall of separation” between church and state, Barry argues that Williams’ imprint on Americais deeper than most recognize. “When I started writing the book I quickly realized that I was not simply writing about the emergence of the idea of religious liberty, but liberty itself.” Barry sat down with ReasonTV‘s Nick Gillespie to discuss the book, the enduring lessons of Roger Williams’ life, and why he is not yet a household name.

I became aware of Roger Williams reading Simon Schama’s The American Future: A History, shortly after President Obama’s inauguration. In the U.S., the…

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