On April 13, 1743, Jane Randolph Jefferson gave birth to a son, Thomas Jefferson. During the next 83 years, I think it’s safe to say her boy made quite a mark on both United States and legal history. You all know Jefferson authored, with a little help from John Locke, the Declaration of Independence.
You all also know Jefferson is the President responsible for the Louisiana Purchase. But what do you know about Jefferson’s A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom?
Jefferson, while serving as the Governor of Virginia, first introduced the Bill in 1779. A final version of the Bill was not adopted until 1786, after being reintroduced to the Virginia General Assembly by a guy named James Madison.
The Bill’s influence, both on our country and on the primary author of our Constitution, Madison, is undeniable. According to the Bill, no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
Jefferson may have been in France when Madison and others penned the Constitution, but the foregoing illustrates that the man deserved a citation at the very least.
See the article on page 10 in April’s edition of DICTA.
Chris W. McCarty, a shareholder in our Knoxville office, practices in the areas of employment law, education law and civil litigation. Mr. McCarty handles matters before state and federal courts throughout Tennessee, and has argued before the Tennessee Court of Appeals. Mr. McCarty also presents on employment and education law topics. His articles on those topics have been seen in numerous publications, including HR Magazine, the Tennessee Bar Journal and the Knoxville Business Journal. Mr. McCarty is approved as a member of the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) Panel of Employment Arbitrators.