Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Quotes by Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson's Statute For Religious Freedom
The Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, commonly known as the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which the Virginia General Assembly passed on January 16, , is one of the most important laws that the assembly ever adopted. Its passage concluded a ten-year campaign in Virginia to disestablish the Church of England, which had been the official state church of the colony since the first English settlers arrived in Baptists led the campaign, joined by Presbyterians and others during the American Revolution, which over time became a push to provide full freedom of religious belief and practice to all Virginians, including Catholics, Jews, and other people who were not Protestant Christians.
Jefferson's Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom
Many colonists came to America to escape religious persecution. But colonies soon adopted laws that limited religious freedom and forced to people to pay taxes to support churches they did not believe in. Dissenters started protesting to abolish those laws. An important change came in when Virginia passed the Statute for Religious Freedom. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the new law served as a model for the First Amendment. Most of the early colonists in America came from England.
It marked the end of a ten-year struggle for the separation of church and state in Virginia, and it was the driving force behind the religious clauses of the First Amendment of the U.
great american read list 2018
The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was drafted in however it was not first introduced into the Virginia General Assembly until  by Thomas Jefferson in the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia. On January 16, , the Assembly enacted the statute into the state's law. The statute disestablished the Church of England in Virginia and guaranteed freedom of religion to people of all religious faiths, including Christians of all denominations, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus.
After the American colonies declared independence from the United Kingdom, the Virginia General Assembly recognized that many of the laws that operated in King George's loyal colony of Virginia would not work well in a newly independent state. Thus, in October , the first General Assembly appointed a five-man Committee of Revisors to review the existing laws and redraft them for an independent Virginia. In , after Jefferson was elected Governor of Virginia , the committee's catalog of bills was presented to the General Assembly. Unfortunately, many of the proposed laws were not adopted or even seriously considered. Jefferson, for example, bemoaned the lack of action on Bill No.
Peterson T HOMAS Jefferson was a methodical man all his life, and when he came to the end of that life, so crowded with accomplishments, it was perfectly in character for him to compose his own epitaph -- indeed, to design his tombstone as well. He wished most to be remembered, he wrote, for three "testimonials" of his life: Author of the Declaration of American Independence of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and Father of the University of Virginia The inclusion of the statute in such a noble trinity has sometimes perplexed Jefferson's admirers. Of course he would wish to be remembered for the Declaration of Independence, which not only gave birth to the new American nation but provided it with a democratic creed and the world with a philosophy of human rights. And of course he would wish to be remembered for the University of Virginia: it was an enduring monument to his genius, not only in the physical architecture of the grounds and buildings but also in its educational spirit -- so much so that it bore witness to the truth of Emerson's aphorism "An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man. This essay is an answer to that question. And it maintains not only that the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom belongs in Jefferson's incisive epitaph but that it is, in fact, one of the main pillars of American democracy and a beacon of light and liberty to the world. Viewed historically, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom is the supreme expression of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment in the life and work of Thomas Jefferson.