Religious Liberty: An American Experiment

Two Views of Religious Liberty: Massachusetts Bay and Rhode Island

Clock One fifty-minute class period

In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of the roles John Winthrop and Roger Williams played in American history. They will also compare and contrast competing models of religious liberty in the Massachusetts Bay and Rhode Island colonies and assess the significance of each model to the American experiment in religious liberty.

Founding Principles

Freedom of Religion image

Freedom of Religion

The freedom to exercise one's own religious beliefs without interference from the government is essential to the existence of a free society.

Inalienable / Natural Rights image

Inalienable / Natural Rights

Freedoms which belong to us by nature and can only be justly taken away through due process.

Liberty image


Except where authorized by citizens through the Constitution, the government does not have the authority to limit freedom.

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