• Virginia Declaration of Rights

     |  Religion, Morality, and Property

    Virginia Declaration of Rights Virginia Declaration of Rights 1 George Mason (1725-1792) The Virginia Declaration of Rights, drafted by George Mason as a preamble to the Virginia Constitution, is—along with the Declaration of Independence that followed a month later—the clearest statement of the social contract theory of government found in major early American documents. June 12, 1776 A declaration of rights made by the Representatives of the good people of Virginia, assembled in full and free Convention; which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of Government. Section 1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state ...
  • Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments

     |  Religion, Morality, and Property

    Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments 1 James Madison (1751-1836) Madison circulated the Memorial and Remonstrance anonymously in 1785 as part of the effort to pass the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. It appeals to Christian citizens by emphasizing that Christianity's own teachings preclude politically coerced support for particular sects, and to all citizens based on reason. June 20, 1785 To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia: A Memorial and Remonstrance We the subscribers, citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled "A ...
  • Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

     |  Religion, Morality, and Property

    Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom 1 Thomas Jefferson Jefferson asked to be remembered on his tombstone as author of the Declaration of Independence, father of the University of Virginia, and author of this law. Long delayed because of the contentiousness of the subject and the powerful interests arrayed against it, the Virginia Statute was drafted in 1777, introduced as a bill in the 1779 legislative session, and adopted in 1786. Eventually the laws of all thirteen original states would prohibit an established church and guarantee religious liberty to all. January 16, 1786 I. Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to ...
  • The Northwest Ordinance

     |  Religion, Morality, and Property

    The Northwest Ordinance The Northwest Ordinance Adopted by the Congress of the Confederation in 1787, the Northwest Ordinance set forth a model for the expansion of the American republic. Providing a governing structure for the territory that would later become Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, it prohibited slavery, protected religious liberty, and encouraged education. Following the adoption of the Constitution, the new Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance again in 1789. July 13, 1787 An Ordinance for the government of the territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio Section 1. Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, That the said territory, for the purpose of temporary government, be one ...
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