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Washington’s promise of religious freedom quickly spread throughout the country and was solidified through the 1791 Bill of Rights. Religious Freedom is now the fundamental law of the United States.

Creating the Constitution

The founding fathers struggled to compromise while developing the governing documents of the United States - see Washington did to help unite them.

Defending the Documents

Washington's Farewell

Washington resigned from office in 1796, just after his second term. Washington informed the public of this through his Farewell Address. Read more about Washington's address and the impact it had on the American people.

Goodbye Washington

Liberty for All

Washington believed that all religions had the right to worship freely, and wanted to make sure this lasted for generations to come. Read more about Washington and religion in the link below.

Washington's Legacy

Why is the first amendment still important today? What does it protect?

Primary Source: Thomas Paine

In this 1789 letter, Thomas Paine writes copies of Washington's letter to the Quakers. He thought that Washington's promises of religious freedom were noteworthy, and wanted to share them to those in England.

Click below to explore Paine's letter.

Read the Letter

Primary Source: Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights includes the first ten Amendments to the Constitution. It contains the freedom of religion, speech, press, and many others. Click the link below to explore the primary source.

Read the Primary Source

Who was originally excluded from Religious Freedom? Why do you think that happened?

Primary Source: Washington's Wishes

In a 1792 letter to Edward Newenham, Washington expressed that "we should never again see their religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of Society."

Read more of his wishes with the link below.

Read the letter (external)

Primary Source: Washington's Farewell Address

When Washington left his position as President, he wrote in his Farewell Address that religion and morality were the key to political prosperity. See what else Washington said, and his hopes for the future.

View Washington's Address

Why might Washington’s words be printed in newspapers and circulated around the world? How were his words revolutionary?

Watch Religious Freedom

Learn how George Washington successfully established religious freedom in America with this 15 minute film!

Religious Freedom Home

Click the link to go back to Religious Freedom Classroom Resources

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