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Unformatted text preview: 9-25-07ENWR110The Founding Fathers intended to form a government that was separate from religion altogether, despite the claim by Terry Eastland stating they intended neutrality (Eastland 39). The intention of the authors of the First Amendment was to protect religious freedom by formally defining its place in the Constitution. The drafting of the Constitution occurred at a time when religion and its role in society was very controversial, in part, due to the example of the Puritans who left England to find tolerance in America. Once on these shores, they set up harsh theocracies where every aspect of religious life was regulated and a state-imposed orthodoxy was strictly enforced (Boston 55). Based on their strict religious thinking, church and state were melded into a very strict system; the Puritans argued that if government did not curb sin, society would fall apart (Boston 56). The structures concerning religious affairs in the early colonies were unpopular with some dissidents, such as Roger Williams. Williams insisted with equal force that the state should have no business in enforcing orthodoxy (Boston). Roger Williams views on the matter eventually led to his exile from his colony in Salem Massachusetts; he then founded the colony of Providence, R.I. where citizens would have a choice between religion and politics. Once anger within the colonies began to rise, the founding fathers identified the key issue on which to base the foundations of the American political and legal systems. The separation of church and state was seen as a necessary component in a free society by such founding fathers as Jefferson, Williams and Madison. On the contrary, men such as Patrick Henry saw religion as the basis of all things, thus connecting religion 1inextricably to politics. But both church and state provide the basis and code for moral development and to separate the two, the Founding Fathers chose not to take a neutral stance but to allow all followers of all religions to take a part in the state equally. To enforce this ideal they decided to separate the two completely by writing The Congress...
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This note was uploaded on 09/21/2008 for the course ENWR 110 taught by Professor Weckstein during the Fall '08 term at UVA.
- Fall '08