American Dream and Religion Influences Essay

Submitted By zoebug924
Words: 1095
Pages: 5

Religious Influences and The American Dream Thomas Jefferson once said this about religion, “I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstitions of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.” Freedom of religion is a choice America made when the Bill of Rights was written. People came from different countries because of the principle of freedom of religion. People found out about the opportunities in America and they decided to flee their country to come to ours. They came for the freedom of religion, meet the people who were spreading the word of God and enjoyed the knowledge of how the world was changing because of The American Dream. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison went into the 1787 Constitutional convention and pushed for religious freedom. Jefferson and Madison didn’t believe in picking a religion for the country. There were two sides the Dissenters, who disagreed with the idea of making an established church in Virginia and the people that were for the established church. Jefferson and Madison weighed in on the side of Dissenters. “The two men argued that the churchmen’s bill represented a dangerous abuse of state power that had no place in the newly independent nation. Religious choice was a matter of an individual’s conscience that must not be tampered with” (Baker 255). They truly believed without freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights there should not be freedom of press and speech. At the end of the convention the vote was 67 to 20 in favor of Jefferson’s bill and no established religion. Jefferson and Madison, as religious influencers, believed in the American dream and believed that people should always have a choice in what they believe. On the other side of the Religious Freedom debate, Patrick Henry was for establishing a church for Virginia. Henry wanted the Church of England established for the church. Henry countered that “complete religious freedom would surely allow dangerous religious radicals to try to undermine traditional religious ideas” (Baker 259). Henry had the most notable Church of England minister on his side. Minister Jonathan Boucher believed that if the Church of England was established, there would be social order, lawfulness, and peace in the colonies. (Davis 2). They thought if they did not establish a church then there would be disorderedness, confusion, and poor attendance at church. If Patrick Henry had won the debate and an official religion was established in America, many people would not have come to America for religious freedom and the American Dream. In 1787 there was a Constitutional Convention where the states gathered to revise the young nation’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation. It began on May 25, 1787, and the state’s job was to reorganize the federal government and secure protections of the rights of individual Americans. There James Madison who was the main author of the Constitution brought forth for his state of Virginia his strong concern of separation of church and state. “By 1787, seven states that had recognized the Church of England as the official church had ceased designation of any church as official. Those states included Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and New York” (Baker 256). By the end of the convention nowhere in the draft of the Constitution were the words, “Faith in God” or “Christian nation.” By leaving out religious language the framers of the Constitution chose not to offend any religious sect and to let the free marketplace of religion operate. The new Constitution allowed people in America and immigrants to America to have freedom to believe in what they truly believe in and not what their country wanted them to believe in. Puritans, Methodists, Quakers, and other religions came to the new country to spread their word of God and start movements and colonies that were