Jefferson’s Legacy, America's Creed
Publication Year: 2013
For over one hundred years, Thomas Jefferson and his Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom have stood at the center of our understanding of religious liberty and the First Amendment. Jefferson’s expansive vision—including his insistence that political freedom and free thought would be at risk if we did not keep government out of the church and church out of government—enjoyed a near consensus of support at the Supreme Court and among historians, until Justice William Rehnquist called reliance on Jefferson "demonstrably incorrect." Since then, Rehnquist’s call has been taken up by a bevy of jurists and academics anxious to encourage renewed government involvement with religion.
In Religious Freedom: Jefferson’s Legacy, America’s Creed, the historian and lawyer John Ragosta offers a vigorous defense of Jefferson’s advocacy for a strict separation of church and state. Beginning with a close look at Jefferson’s own religious evolution, Ragosta shows that deep religious beliefs were at the heart of Jefferson’s views on religious freedom. Basing his analysis on that Jeffersonian vision, Ragosta redefines our understanding of how and why the First Amendment was adopted. He shows how the amendment’s focus on maintaining the authority of states to regulate religious freedom demonstrates that a very strict restriction on federal action was intended. Ultimately revealing that the great sage demanded a firm separation of church and state but never sought a wholly secular public square, Ragosta provides a new perspective on Jefferson, the First Amendment, and religious liberty within the United States.
Published by: University of Virginia Press
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In writing a history book, the author often seeks to place him or herself into the historic time and place about which he or she writes. I had the privilege of writing most of this book while on Thomas Jeff ersonâs âlittle mountain,â a welcome opportunity to try to immerse myself in Jeff ersonâs perspective. I am deeply grateful to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and ...
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...ï´ï¯ï¤ï¡ï¹, ï¡ï¬ïï¯ï³ï´ ï´ï·ï¯ ï¨ïµï®ï¤ï²ï¥ï¤ ï¹ï¥ï¡ï²ï³ ï¡ï¦ï´ï¥ï² ï¨ï©ï³ ï¤ï¥ï¡ï´ï¨, ï´ï¨ï¯ïï¡ï³ ïªï¥ï¦-fersonâs views on religion and religious freedom continue to occupy the courts and the public. Not only do violent arguments contend with the centrality of Jeff erson and his Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom to our under-standing of religious liberty, but an almost equally contentious dispute exists ...
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...ïªï¥ï¦ï¦ï¥ï²ï³ï¯ï®âï³ ï£ï¡ïï°ï¡ï©ï§ï® ï¦ï¯ï² ï²ï¥ï¬ï©ï§ï©ï¯ïµï³ ï¬ï©ï¢ï¥ï²ï´ï¹ ï¡ï®ï¤ ï´ï¨ï¥ ï³ï©ï§ï®ï©ï¦ï©-cance of his vision in the development of American religious freedom can be best understood on the stage on which his views and commitment to religious liberty developed. In particular, an understanding of the role of religious dis-sent in early Virginia is essential. Not only did discrimination against and ...
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...ï·ï©ï´ï¨ ï´ï¨ï¥ ï¡ïï¥ï²ï©ï£ï¡ï® ï¶ï©ï£ï´ï¯ï²ï¹ ï¡ï´ ï¹ï¯ï²ï«ï´ï¯ï·ï® ï©ï® ï±ï·ï¸ï±, ï´ï¨ï¥ ï®ï¥ï¥ï¤ for mobilization quickly evaporated. So, too, evaporated the solicitousness of Virginiaâs Establishment leaders for religious dissenters. In the immediate postwar years, petitions from Presbyterians and Baptists asking for an end to the vestiges of religious discrimination continued to arrive in Richmond, but, ...
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...ï·ï¨ï©ï¬ï¥ ïªï¥ï¦ï¦ï¥ï²ï³ï¯ï®âï³ ï³ï´ï¡ï´ïµï´ï¥ ï·ï¡ï³ ï·ï¥ï¬ï¬ ï²ï¥ï£ï¥ï©ï¶ï¥ï¤ ï¡ï³ ï¡ ï³ï´ï¡ï´ï¥ïï¥ï®ï´ of principle both at home and abroad, the reality in the ï±ï·ï¸ï°s was that twelve of the thirteen states had some form of offi cial establishment and/or religious test oath for holding offi ce or voting. While incremental changes were afoot in In the years immediately following adoption of the Statute, the national ...
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...ïªï¥ï¦ï¦ï¥ï²ï³ï¯ï® ï¡ï®ï¤ ïï¡ï¤ï©ï³ï¯ï® ï·ï¥ï²ï¥ ï·ï¥ï¬ï¬ ï¡ï·ï¡ï²ï¥ ï´ï¨ï¡ï´ ï´ï¨ï¥ ï¢ï¡ï´ï´ï¬ï¥ ï¦ï¯ï² the Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom and the First Amend-ment did not end the battle for religious liberty in America. Since the First Amendment applied only to federal action, it had limited direct application in the nineteenth century, an era of relatively narrow federal regulation and a ...
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...ï²ï¥ï¬ï©ï§ï©ï¯ïµï³ ï¬ï©ï¢ï¥ï²ï´ï¹ ï¡ï®ï¤ ïªï¥ï¦ï¦ï¥ï²ï³ï¯ï®âï³ ï¡ï®ï¤ ïï¡ï¤ï©ï³ï¯ï®âï³ ï¶ï©ï¥ï·ï³ ï¯ï® ï´ï¨ï¥ same were active topics in the political discourse in the states throughout the nineteenth century. On the other hand, after adoption of the First Amend-ment, applicable only to the federal government, its religion clauses appeared to slumber judicially for the better part of ï±ïµï° years. This was not entirely unex-...
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...ï´ï¨ï¥ï²ï¥ ï©ï³ ï¡ ï£ï¥ï²ï´ï¡ï©ï® ï©ï®ï£ï¯ï®ï§ï²ïµï©ï´ï¹ ï©ï® ï´ï¨ï¥ ï¥ï¦ï¦ï¯ï²ï´ ï´ï¯ ï³ï¥ï¥ï« ïªï¥ï¦ï¦ï¥ï²-sonâs views in the midst of modern controversy. After all, Jeff erson was adamant that the world is for the living; he was so insistent upon this that he would have had each generation draft its own constitution. Jeff erson would advise that a Religious liberty, though, was diff erent for Jeff erson; protecting religious ...
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Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Jeffersonian America