Chapter

James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the Meaning of “Establishment of Religion” in Eighteenth-Century Virginia

Ralph Ketcham

in No Establishment of Religion

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860371
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199950164 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860371.003.0006
James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the Meaning of “Establishment of Religion” in Eighteenth-Century Virginia

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This chapter focuses particularly on the ideas and activities of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson in support of religious freedom. From the time he was a young man, Madison was an opponent of every form of religious establishment. Unlike Jefferson, who was inspired by the intellectual freedom from religion, Madison admired the political and social values that arise from religious freedom. Madison opposed Patrick Henry’s efforts to tax the population to support the clergy in what become known as the assessment controversy. Madison’s “Memorial and Remonstrance,” written in opposition to Henry’s proposed tax, became a classic text in the argument for disestablishment and for understanding the Establishment Clause. Madison became the principal advocate for the Establishment Clause in the First Congress.

Keywords: James Madison; Thomas Jefferson; toleration; disestablishment; establishment of religion; Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom; Virginia assessment controversy; Establishment Clause; First Congress

Chapter.  10499 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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