“Congress shall make no law… respecting the establishment of religion…
or preventing the free exercise thereof…” – 1st Amendment
In Danbury, Connecticut, the local Baptist congregation is deeply concerned about the ability to freely practice their religion. Sure, the Constitution says they can, but those words are only as good as the men who uphold them. They are pleased that Thomas Jefferson, a well-known fighter for religious freedom is now President. Still, they want to make sure where he stands, so they write him a letter. Read the rest of this entry
Virginia – Part 1
Of all the states that – even for a fleeting moment – thought that they might be able to go their own way and reject the Constitution, Virginia is probably the only one that realistically had a chance of success. But Virginia is also the center of The Enlightenment in America; and it is her leaders who have the nations confidence. So much so, that James Madison almost won’t make it home in time to be elected to the Virginia Convention, because he is busy conducting the Nations business which is entrusted to Virginia.
It is here that the most eloquent Anti-federalist of all, Patrick Henry, will probably join forces with George Mason, a man who attended the Philadelphia Convention but refused to sign the final document. Together, they look to face down the Federalists. If they succeed, Virginia will not ratify and it will be likely that other States remaining to consider the Constitution will follow her example.
Patrick Henry will take the lead. He has a long history of being a defender of individual, particularly religious conscience, and States rights. He has opposed Madison and Jefferson before; this time he means to pull out all of the stops to prevent what he sees as a usurpation of power from the people. Mason has become surprisingly (one might say, Samuel Adamsish) passive. Madison, having just made the convention, faces the most important task of his life…