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Letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association (January 1, 1802)

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Letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association (January 1
SUMMARY

In this letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, a group of twenty-six churches in western Connecticut and eastern New York, United States president Thomas Jefferson argues for “a wall of separation between Church & State.” Its first known publication was in the New York newspaper American Citizen (January 18, 1802).

FULL TEXT

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association (January 1

To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

Jan. 1. 1802.

Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful & zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th: Jefferson

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January 1, 1802
In a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson argues for "a wall of separation between Church & State.""
CITE THIS ENTRY
APA Citation:
Jefferson, Thomas. Letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association (January 1, 1802). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/letter-from-thomas-jefferson-to-the-danbury-baptist-association-january-1-1802.
MLA Citation:
Jefferson, Thomas. "Letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association (January 1, 1802)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 27 Feb. 2021
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