The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: Its Evolution and Consequences in American History

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Merrill D. Peterson, Robert C. Vaughan
Cambridge University Press, Oct 30, 2003 - Religion - 392 pages
This book colourfully examines a famous Jeffersonian document which set the precedent for the US Constitution’s guarantee of religious liberty. Jefferson wrote the Virginia Statute, shepherded it through a decade-long struggle to adoption, and included it in his epitaph (along with the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the University of Virginia). The Statute’s history reflects two key revolutionary principles: absolute freedom of religious conscience; and the separation of church and state. Both principles remain lively topics of debate on the contemporary religious and political scene. Papers collected here were presented at a conference sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy. Among the contributors are several of America’s most prominent religious and political historians and experts on jurisprudence.
 

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Contents

The Virginia Statute Two Hundred Years Later
1
Colonial Religion and Liberty of Conscience
23
Religious Freedom and the Desacralization of Politics From the English Civil Wars to the Virginia Statute
43
The Political Theology of Thomas Jefferson
75
James Madison the Statute for Religious Freedom and the Crisis of Republican Convictions
109
The Rage of Malice of the Old Serpent Devil The Dissenters and the Making and Remaking of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom
139
Quota of Imps
171
Jeffersonian Religious Liberty and American Pluralism
201
Religion and Civil Virtue in America Jeffersons Statute Reconsidered
237
The Priority of Democracy to Philosophy
257
Madisons Detached Memoranda Then and Now
283
The Supreme Court and the Serpentine Wall
313
Index
351
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