Roger Williams Analysis

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, United States, Indigenous peoples of the Americas Pages: 1 (363 words) Published: November 2, 2011
Roger Williams Analysis
Roger Williams writings in The Key into the Language of America reflected his nontraditional views of the Natives during his time. While most Englishmen in America viewed the Natives as “savages,… wild men,… barbarians,… or heathens,”(page 90) Williams “saw that the American Indians were no better or worse than the “rogues” who dealt with them, and that in fact they possessed a marked degree of civility.” (page89) The fact that he came to his conclusion by actually submerging himself into the Native American culture gives his perspective and idea more substance than those of the other Anglo-Americans who held their judgments without actually studying the culture. Williams notes were originally written in order to provide a “little key to open a box, where lies a bunch of keys.”(page 89) In other words, Williams felt that if he was able to get the Englishmen to understand the natives fundamentally, either through language or customs, and that they then may be able to relate to them on other levels. He believed that if the two cultures had an understanding of each other that the two may be able to have peace between them, and that the English could successfully convert the Native Americans to Christianity once a trust was built between them. Despite the fact that Williams had a desire for peace between the two cultures, he also makes it clear that he doesn’t strive for assimilation. Through his writing he constantly makes biblical references just as Williams Bradford did in Of Plymouth and Plantation. He mentions that the Indians words and beliefs “hold affinity with the Hebrew,” (page 90) or in other words, that despite the English idea that the religious views of the Natives are so drastically different from the English and also quite possibly barbaric, Williams argues that there are actually many similarities. The fact that there are so many similarities is a key to the Natives understanding of Christianity. Williams mentions that by...
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