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American Religion, American PoliticsAn Anthology$
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Joseph K Kosek

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300203516

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300203516.001.0001

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Religious Establishment and Religious Freedom in Early America

Religious Establishment and Religious Freedom in Early America

(p.6) 1 Religious Establishment and Religious Freedom in Early America
American Religion, American Politics
Joseph Kip Kosek
Yale University Press

This chapter presents documents that show how Britain's New World colonies were shaped both by the tradition of religious establishment and by the newer ideas of religious toleration. Unlike the early colonists, many of the founders of the United States doubted that religious establishment was necessary. They were constrained in part by American political realities: the newly independent nation was simply too religiously diverse for any one group to claim official status. The documents provided include John Winthrop's “A Modell of Christian Charity” (1630), the Maryland Act Concerning Religion (1649), William Penn's Frame of Government of Pennsylvania and Laws Agreed Upon in England (1682), James Madison's “Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments” (1785), and Thomas Jefferson's Act for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia (1786).

Keywords:   religious freedom, early America, religious establishment, religious toleration, John Winthrop, William Penn, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson

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