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Columbus, Winthrop and Williams

            It is not known how long humans have inhabited North America. Archeologists believe Viking ships explored the far northeastern coast of North America around 1000 A.D. As far as recorded history, the story of the American nation and its culture begins with the 1492 discovery of the New World by Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Columbus was a mapmaker who believed that Europeans could reach the Indies more efficiently by ocean travel than across land. While there remained a number of potential dangers to such excursions over water, Christopher Columbus believed that God directed him to set forth on a westward journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Ultimately, this led to the discovery of the new world on August 3, 1492. "Put it all together and you might say that Columbus was the inventor of the American Dream" (Vizenor 526). Although Columbus discover the new world, it was people like John Winthrop and Roger Williams that were integral parts of founding America. Winthrop was a wealthy English lawyer who was elected governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629. He led the first wave of migrants to the new world in 1630, founding a number of communities on the shores of the Massachusetts Bay and the Charles River. Winthrop was governor for 12 annual years of the colony's first 20 years. Roger Williams was a Reverend from England who fled to the new world with his wife because he believed that the Church of England was corrupt. The three principles that became central to Williams' subsequent career were: separatism, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state. He believed that one must completely separate from the corrupt to establish a new church for the true and pure worship of God. Williams and Winthrop had opposing beliefs which ultimately led to the banishment of Williams from Massachusetts. Williams was a danger to the peace of the colony, his removal was essential for securing the great end of the Puritan company.

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