Reflections on Brian Leiter’s Keynote Address

Professor Leiter’s remarks can be viewed by clicking HERE.  Brian Leiter’s keynote speech, Toleration: Its Nature and Moral Justification, presented at last fall’s Spectacle of Toleration Conference, was meant to be provocative. It succeeded. Leiter, the Karl N. Llewellyn...
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“God requireth not a uniformity of religion to be enacted and enforced in any civil state:” A Conclusion and an Invitation

As I mentioned in my introduction, discussions that mix history, politics, and history can lead to tense conversations and mutual mistrust.  We often come to these conversations with our minds made up and are not open to hearing what others have to say.  I hope that these...

“Men’s consciences ought in no sort to be violated, urged, or constrained:” Treatment of Native Americans

Last week we considered the religion of enslaved Africans, and noted that, although many converted to Christianity, others tried to hold on to their original cultures and religions.  This week, let’s consider the experience of another non-Western group: Native Americans. ...

African Spirituality in Newport

We’ve spent a lot of time this summer and fall considering ideals about religious toleration in Rhode Island, much of which was possible thanks to the 1663 Charter.  Most of these topics have related to Judeo-Christian religious ideas, and to the European settlers. ...

“To bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance:” The Jewish Community in Newport

In the past few weeks, we have been exploring how policies regarding religious toleration at the colony and city level in Rhode Island and Newport played out in daily life.  Last week, we considered why Quakers, a group of Christians who were marginalized in many of the other...

“Be still and cool in thine own mind and spirit:” Quakers and the Great Friends Meeting House in Newport

Colonial Rhode Island and Newport were havens for religious dissenters.  The Charter of 1663 promised religious toleration to inhabitants of the Colony, and early laws promised similar religious toleration to inhabitants of Newport itself.  We have already seen how these ideals...

Division Street: A Microcosm of Colonial Newport

Last week we looked at a map of colonial Newport and explored how the built landscape reflected the town founders’ ideals.  As the early settlers arrived in Newport while escaping religious persecution elsewhere, the town was built to accommodate people with many different...

“A Plan of the Town of Newport in Rhode Island:” Newport’s Colonial Landscape

When many of us think about the past, we think about words.  Words fill the diaries, newspapers, speeches, account books, government documents, and other items that we use to tell the story of the past.  Thus far, our blog series has focused on words: we explored what...


February 17, 2014

Third Day Gospel Choir in Concert

The Tufts University Third Day Gospel Choir, the Gospel Ensemble Confirmation and Director David Coleman present traditional and contemporary gospel music.


October 26, 2013

Norumbega Harmony

A concert of early American music at Trinity Church, Newport RI on October 26th at 7 pm.
Norumbega Harmony practices the tradition of the itinerant signing school that gave birth to Sacred Harp singing. The group’s repertoire consists of music from the colonial and Revolutionary era of new England as well as music from the Sacred Harp and American folk hymn traditions.


Oct 3-6, 2013

“No Person Shall Bee Anywise Molested”

A conference on the role of religious tolerance in society.

More than 40 scholarly papers – by historians, legal scholars, journalists and others – will be presented on topics ranging in time and space from 17th century England through colonial American to 20th century Seattle. The conference will include two public keynotes, one each in Newport and Providence.

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