Date of Award

Winter 12-1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Honors College Theses



Second Advisor

Dr. Rogers J. Newman

Third Advisor

Dr. Beverly Wade


This study sought to determine the influences on Thomas Jefferson's support of the separation of church and state. Jefferson's " A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom" (1779), which was enacted into law as the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom (1786), and his personal letters illuminate Jefferson's position on the separation of church and state. First, Jefferson believed in the sanctity of individual conscience, which the state-supported church in his native Virginia did not comfortably allow. Non-Anglicans in colonial Virginia (1607-1776) were not able to hold civil or military offices, nor could they be admitted to its universities, or join municipal and business corporations.

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