Freethought Almanac

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January 16: The "Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom" Becomes Law (1786)

It was on this date, January 16, 1786, that the Virginia Legislature adopted the “Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.” Written by Thomas Jefferson almost ten years earlier as “An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom,” and proposed to the legislature when Jefferson became Governor of Virginia in 1779, It took a mighty push from both Jefferson and James Madison – who wrote a “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments” in its support – before the “Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom” had overcame the objections of Patrick Henry and his allies to become law.

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Originally published January 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.

Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.


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November 14: Charles Lyell

Charles Lyell (1797) It was on this date, November 14, 1797, that pioneering Scottish geologist Charles Lyell was born the oldest of 10 children of an active naturalist. He was educated at Oxford and turned from the law to geology, publishing his greatest work, The Principles of Geology, in three volumes from 1830-1833. His researches […]



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