Rhode Island Royal Charter
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Roger Williams
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The original Patent of 1643, which had been granted by a Puritan-dominated Parliament during the English Revolution, had not made provision for a unified, central government in Rhode Island. Roger Williams, frustrated by the constant squabbles between the local settlements and worried about the growing power of neighboring Massachusetts, traveled to London and successfully obtained a royal charter.

In a surprising departure from legal tradition, the charter (described as a "lively experiment") acknowledged Indian land rights and provided for religious toleration in the colony, specifying that "no person...shall be any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinion in matters of religion." The Royal Charter of 1663 remained in force until a new constitution was written in 1843.
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Williams, Roger

Rhode Island Royal Charter- Rhode Island State Website

Roger Williams returning from England with the charter- Wikimedia Commons

King Charles II of England- Internet Archive

John Clarke portrait- Wikimedia
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Web Page Contributor
Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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