U.S. History

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

John Barry

About the Program

John Barry recounts the life of Puritan minister Roger Williams, whose thoughts on the separation of church and state were deemed revolutionary in 17th century America.  Mr. Barry also reports that Williams, equally influenced by the British political and scientific thinkers, Edward Coke and Francis Bacon, was a supporter of the concept of individual rights that contends government should be powered by the people.  The author recalls William's confrontation with John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts, who refuted William's ideas and ordered him to leave the state or face death and the Puritan minister's subsequent founding of Providence, Rhode Island in 1636 as a shelter for all to worship without state interference.  John Barry speaks at Octavia Books in New Orleans. 

About the Authors

John Barry

John Barry is the author of numerous books, including The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History and Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, recipient of the Frances Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians. 


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Program Information

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

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Past Airings

  • Sunday, February 12th at 11pm (ET)
  • Sunday, February 12th at 3am (ET)
  • Saturday, February 11th at 2pm (ET)
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