ROGER WILLIAMS NATIONAL MEMORIAL
Liberty of Conscience
Roger Williams National Memorial commemorates the life of the founder of Rhode Island and a champion of the ideal of religious freedom. Williams, banished from Massachusetts for his beliefs, founded Providence in 1636. This colony served as a refuge where all could come to worship as their conscience dictated without interference from the state.
A Champion for Religious Freedom
Roger Williams National Memorial was established by Congress in 1965 to commemorate Williams?s "outstanding contributions to the development of the principles of freedom in this country." The memorial, a 4.5 acre urban greenspace located at the foot of College Hill in downtown Providence, includes a freshwater spring which was the center of the settlement of Providence Plantations founded by Williams in 1636. It is on this site that Williams, through word and action, fought for the ideal that religion must not be subject to regulation by the state but, instead, that it should be a matter of individual conscience. It was a remarkable journey that brought Williams to what is now the capital of Rhode Island and to where he put his beliefs into practice, giving "shelter for persons distressed of conscience."