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After the war, there were many questions and concerns about religious freedom. In response, Washington reassured countless religious communities that they would have the freedom to worship as they chose.

Petitions to Washington

Petitions to Washington

The Jewish people of Newport, Rhode Island, wrote to Washington in 1790. At the time, Jews were not considered "full citizens," and could not serve in office - they hoped that with Washington's presidency, that could change. Read more about the letter and Washington's response

Touro Synagogue
Moses Seixas

Moses Seixas

Moses Seixas was the author of the Tuoro Synagogue letter to Washington. Learn more about his life and dreams by clicking the link below.

Moses' Story
Vine and Fig Tree

Vine and Fig Tree

While addressing petitions from religious groups, Washington often mentioned "vine and fig trees." Click below to learn what Washington meant and why it is important.

Why so many plants?

Judaism in America

Judaism in America

Where did the Jews live? Why do you think they decided to write to Washington?

Road to Religious Freedom

1783
1791
The Revolution Officially Ends
Virginia and Religious Freedom
Baptist Concerns
Washington and the Quakers
Moses's Letter
A Reply to Touro Synagogue
Washington's Promise Fulfilled

September 3, 1783

The Revolution Officially Ends

The Treaty of Paris officially ends the Revolutionary War. Washington resigns his commission, hoping to return to a peaceful life at Mount Vernon. His plans would later change, and Washington became the President of the United States six years later, in 1789.

Virginia and Religious Freedom

The Virginia Assembly passes the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, separating the Church of England from its government. This sets the precedent for religious freedom in the nation.

Baptist Concerns

George Washington writes to the United Baptist Churches of Virginia, promising to “establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”

Washington and the Quakers

George Washington writes to the Society of Quakers. Washington promised to “protect the Persons and Consciences of men from oppression," reassuring the Quakers that they were safe in America.

Moses's Letter

Moses Seixas writes to Washington on behalf of the Touro Synagogue. He wants to make sure that the government ensures that the Jewish population receives the “blessings of civil and religious liberty… under an equal and benign administration.”

A Reply to Touro Synagogue

George Washington writes to the Jewish people of Touro Synagogue. In his letter, he wrote that the government of the United States would “give to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” Washington promised to protect religious freedom in America and wished blessings upon the Jews.

Washington's Promise Fulfilled

Congress ratifies the Constitution. The Bill of Rights is passed, which allows for the freedom of religion in the United States of America. This applied to every citizen of the United States, but excluded those who were enslaved or indigenous.

Why Religious Freedom?

Washington believed that a nation needed religion because it was fundamental to having a moral republic. What do you think he meant by this?

Religious Freedom Home

Click the link to go back to Religious Freedom Classroom Resources

Link to Homepage

Watch Religious Freedom


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

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