This Day in History: Washington, Religion, and New Jersey

Today’s Supreme Court may believe in a strict separation between church and state, but George Washington certainly did not. A letter that he wrote on this day in history is a small window into his perspective on the subject. (A more complete discussion of his views can be found in my book with Joe Smith, Under […]

Washington’s Forgotten Thanksgiving Proclamation

Washington’s first Thanksgiving Proclamation (1789) is a popular post today, but I thought I would do something a little bit different. Washington’s second Thanksgiving Proclamation (1795) is often overlooked – or even completely forgotten. It should not be. Washington issued this latter proclamation in 1795 on his own initiative.  In sharp contrast, he had issued […]

There they go again, misquoting Founders & blasting the Electoral College

In May, I blogged that an LA Times editor had misquoted James Madison, pretending that Madison was opposed to the Electoral College. In the LA Times piece, Madison was taken very badly out of context. Madison’s words were not aimed at the Electoral College; he was writing of his discontent with the back-up election process, […]

Religious freedom, the First Amendment, and this week in history

Two interesting things happened during this week in history: First, on September 25, 1789, the first Congress approved several proposed constitutional amendments and sent them to the states for ratification. Included among these was the language that would eventually become the First Amendment to the United States Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an […]