Political history -- 05/05/11

This month is Rhode Island's anniversary -- or, rather, anniversaries.

In 1636 Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts because of his religious beliefs.

Short version: he had come to believe that we were all such terrible sinners -- even the most upright Puritans were vile sinners -- that the only hope anyone had of escaping eternal damnation was to depend upon God's loving mercy. This meant that nobody should judge another's beliefs, that we should practice tolerance of the beliefs of others. The powers-that-be in Massachusetts Bay Colony really wanted to execute him but settled for banishment (which could easily have proved to be a death sentence).

In May of 1636 Chief Canonicus -- leader of the Narragansett nation -- signed a deed giving Roger Williams land to settle on. Williams named that spot Providence Plantation (this became the site of the present day city of Providence). Thus, this is Rhode Island's 375th anniversary.

In another May, 140 years later, Rhode Island became the first colony to renounce British rule. On May 4, 1776, Rhode Island formally declared its independence -- two months before the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Thus, yesterday was also the 235th anniversary of Rhode Island's independence from England.

I am a regular reader of Glenn Reynold's Instapundit blog. Today he had a link to a survey being conducted by a collegue of his. The survey asks about reading political websites and blogs and about other sources of political information (such as newspapers, television, etc.). If you are interested in politics, you might be interested in taking her survey at http://survey.utk.edu/mrIWeb/mrIWeb.dll?I.Project=SOURCES2011

So... I also put together a short video about this past Sunday's James Joyce Ramble and put it up on Youtube. You can find it here.

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