The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom: Its Evolution and Consequences in American History (Cambridge Studies in Religion and American Public Life)

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ISBN-13: 978-0521892988
ISBN-10: 0521892988
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Book Description

The famous Jeffersonian document that foreshadowed the Constitution's guarantee of religious liberty is followed from its drafting through a decade long struggle for adoption.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Religion and American Public Life
  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (October 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521892988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521892988
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,817,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Khemprof TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Its Evolutionand Consequences in American History edited by Merrill D. Peterson and Robert C. Vaughan is a book that should be on the shelf of those who read and want to understand why it was so important to overthrow the Established Church... the Anglican Church... and the laying of a new foundation of civil and religious life.
As we all should know it was Thomas Jefferson who realized that in order to have a just and free government, you had to divest the church stranglehold on the government and on the people as church and state were united. Jefferson proposed a revolutionary change based on two principles first, absolute freedom of religious conscience and opinion; and second, the separation of church and state. This book covers much of what was contemporary perspective of that time. Jefferson was the author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and it was a hard fought fight and struggle for ten years to extracate the established church, but a fight well worth the effort. Jefferson drafted the Virginia Statute in 1777, when he was a member of the Virginia legislature and it became law on January 16, 1786, when he was United States minister to France. The Virginia Statute is in three parts: the preamble, the enacting clause, and the final, admonitory paragraph.
This book has contributing authors of essays that take a look into different aspects of the history and attitudes of the time and give us clarity of prespective.
Read more ›
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By George T. Garlock on April 19, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent in all aspects!
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Gregory on December 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a great resource for anyone studying the Christian history and founding of the United States. Yes this is a Christian nation based on Biblical principles. While I don't agree with all the contributors I did enjoy reading all the material.
I particularly enjoyed Lance Banning's section dealing with James Madison's influence on the Statutes passage. Madison grew up in an area where Baptist preachers were imprisoned and beaten for preaching the Gospel. (See Robert Semples, "A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia) It was Madison who championed this legislation in Jeffersons abscence.
It may be a little known fact that the first draft of the Statute was drawn up in Fredericksburg, VA where on June 4, 1768, at least 4 Baptist preachers were imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. Patrick Henry had supported an opposing bill that would have required taxes be paid to teach Christianity.
While there is evidence on both sides, I don't believe Jefferson and Madison intended freedom from religion in our government. What I believe they intended was freedom from denominations supported and mandated by the government. Jefferson once stated "God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever."
How prophetic a statement.
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