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Wellspring of LibertyHow Virginia's Religious Dissenters Helped Win the American Revolution and Secured Religious Liberty$
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John A. Ragosta

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388060

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388060.001.0001

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(p.3) Introduction
Wellspring of Liberty

John A. Ragosta (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Anglican Church was the established church in colonial Virginia, and while the Great Awakening had encouraged growth in religious dissent, especially among evangelicals, it did not substantially loosen the hold of the establishment on the polity nor republicanize Virginia. In fact, discrimination against dissenters increased as the Revolution approached, with arrests of Baptist preachers beginning in 1768. Before the Revolution, legislative efforts to increase religious toleration failed in the Anglican‐controlled House of Burgesses. This posed a challenge when the Revolution broke upon Virginia: how could the establishment leaders who had led efforts to discriminate against dissenters obtain their support for effective mobilization?

Keywords:   American Revolution, Virginia, religious dissenters, establishment, petitions, Baptists, Presbyterians, Anglican Church

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