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Wellspring of Liberty
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Wellspring of Liberty: How Virginia's Religious Dissenters Helped Win the American Revolution and Secured Religious Liberty

John A. Ragosta


Before the American Revolution, no state more seriously discriminated against and persecuted religious dissenters than Virginia. Over 50 dissenting ministers, primarily Baptists, were jailed, and numerous Baptists and Presbyterians were beaten or harassed. By the time the U.S. Constitution was adopted, no state provided more extensive protection to religious freedom, nor did so in terms nearly so elegant as Thomas Jefferson's Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom. This dramatic change occurred because Virginia's dissenters, constituting as much as one‐third or more of the population, dema ... More

Keywords: American Revolution, Virginia, church and state, religious liberty, Baptists, Presbyterians, mobilization, First Amendment, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780195388060
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388060.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

John A. Ragosta, author
University of Virginia Law School
Author Webpage