First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty is the story of how the most basic of human freedoms – freedom of conscience – was codified for the first time in human history as an inalienable human right protected by law.
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison fought efforts to impose a General Assessment in Virginia and, in the process, to establish the separation between church and state.
By 1800, political parties had established themselves in American politics and were in full operation during the election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The brutality of the campaign severed the once-strong relationship between the two patriots.
This is the story of how the most basic human freedom – freedom of conscience – for the first time in human history became an inalienable right protected by law.
First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty profiles the generation of colonial Americans who raised the ideal of religious freedom to the level of a fundamental human right. And it honors those founders who could not rest until it was carved into law.
Many people understood that religion could become involved in politics, and the concern was that people in power would try to establish their church as the national church.
The Founding Fathers’ thinking evolved from tolerating minority religions to embracing the right of religious liberty for all.
Can a society that seeks religious freedom for itself also extend it to others who don’t believe the same way?