Topic: Religion

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Notes on the State of Virginia

This document is an excerpt of Thomas Jefferson’s only book-length publication. Jefferson wrote the work during the early 1780s in response to a series of questions from Frenchman Francois de...
Lesson Plan

The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom DBQ

Students will explore primary sources to gain a full understanding of the context, content, and lasting impact of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Students will evaluate primary source documents...

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

Thomas Jefferson wanted his tombstone to list the “things that he had given the people.” It reads: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson Author of the Declaration of Independence of The Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom And Father of the University of Virginia.” Why did Jefferson want the Statute for Religious Freedom on his tombstone?

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U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights

The first ten amendments to the Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. Its first version, shown here, included twelve amendments, but the first two were dropped. When the Bill...
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Statute for Religious Freedom (Audio)

This is a dramatic reading of Jefferson’s Bill for Religious Freedom which became a statute (law) in 1786. Along with writing the Declaration of Independence and founding the University of...
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A Bill Establishing a Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion

In 1784, Patrick Henry proposed this bill, which would have provided tax-supported religious instruction for Virginians. Henry believed that Christian morality made people better citizens. He also thought that the...
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A Declaration by the Representatives of the United Colonies

This document, written by Thomas Jefferson almost exactly one year before the Declaration of Independence, explains the reasons why the Continental Congress established the Continental Army. The document denies that...
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An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom

Thomas Jefferson first drafted this bill in 1777. For him, religious freedom meant the right to have any of religious beliefs, or none at all. It also meant that government...
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An Oration on the Beauties of Liberty

John Allen preached this sermon, which became a popular pamphlet, to the Second Baptist Church in Boston in 1772. Like many colonists, Allen vigorously opposed what he called British “tyranny.”...
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In 1821, Jefferson prepared a draft of his autobiography. He reflected on the events that led to the revolution, as well as his views on religious freedom, the abolition of...