Skip to main content

Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Charter of (July 8, 1663)

RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS, CHARTER OF (July 8, 1663)

roger williams founded Providence in 1636 as a shelter for anyone "distressed in conscience." His covenant was the first anywhere to exclude the civil government from religious matters. From the beginning the towns that became Rhode Island practiced religious liberty, welcoming Quakers and Jews, and enjoyed separation of church and state. John Clarke, a Baptist minister who was Williams's friend and co-worker, was influential in the framing of the code of laws of 1647 establishing a "democratical" government. The restoration of the Stuarts in 1660 forced Rhode Island to secure a charter; Clarke was Williams's emissary to Charles II, who granted the first American charter guaranteeing religious liberty. The maryland act of toleration (1649) was a statute; the charter of Rhode Island, which remained its constitution until 1842, made the guarantee a part of fundamental law. The language of the charter on this key provision was Clarke's. It referred to the colony's "livlie experiment" to show that a civil state could best be maintained if the inhabitants were secured "in the free exercise and enjoyment of all theire civill and religious rights." All peaceable persons might "freelye and fullye hav and enjoye his and theire owne judgments."

Leonard W. Levy
(1986)

Bibliography

Perry, Richard L., ed. 1959 Sources of Our Liberties. Pages 162–179. New York: American Bar Foundation.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Charter of (July 8, 1663)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Charter of (July 8, 1663)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rhode-island-and-providence-plantations-charter-july-8-1663

"Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Charter of (July 8, 1663)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Retrieved September 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rhode-island-and-providence-plantations-charter-july-8-1663

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.