- Read and discuss Founding documents related to the concept of religious toleration.
- Read and discuss Founding documents related to the concept of religious liberty.
- Compare and contrast the concepts of religious toleration and religious liberty by analyzing quotes from the Founders.
- Read and discuss the contribution of President George Washington to religious liberty.
- Handout A: The American Journey from Religious Toleration to Religious Liberty
- Handout B: Religious Toleration
- Handout C: Religious Liberty
- Handout D: Quote Cards
- Handout E: Letters to the Congregations: George Washington and Religious Liberty
- Two shoeboxes
- Have students read Handout A: The American Journey from Religious Toleration to Religious Liberty and individually answer the comprehension and critical thinking questions.
- With the entire class, spend a few minutes discussing the following questions:
- What does religious toleration mean?
- What does religious liberty mean?
- What is the difference between religious toleration and religious liberty?
- Assign students in pairs and have them read and assign half the groups to complete Handout B: Religious Toleration and half to complete Handout C: Liberty of Conscience.
- Within the groups, students will analyze the quotes relating to religious toleration or liberty of conscience and then summarize the best arguments for their position in the space provided on Handout B or Handout C.
- Once students have finished with Handouts B and C, ask students in a few groups to share the best arguments from their side.
- Using two shoeboxes or other similarly sized boxes, label one RT: Religious Toleration and label another RL: Religious Liberty.
- Distribute the Handout D: Quote Cards to the students. Students should read the quote, determine whether it represents religious liberty or religious toleration, and then place the quote cards in the box representing their choice. Have the students defend their choice by explaining how the quote supports either religious toleration or religious liberty.
- Discuss the difference between religious toleration and religious liberty according to the following questions:
- After reviewing the primary sources, is it more ideal to enjoy religious toleration or religious liberty? Why?
- Which principles of the American Founding supported religious liberty? Why did these principles have that effect?
- Students should complete Handout E: Letters to the Congregations: George Washington and Religious Liberty.
- Have students research religious liberty at the Library of Congress on-line exhibition “Religion and the Founding of the American Republic” and write a paragraph analyzing a primary source, visual, or biography from the website.
- The exhibit can be found at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/index.html.
Conscience is the Most Sacred Property: James Madison, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and Justice
In this lesson, students will learn about James Madison's fight to promote and advance religious freedom in the State of Virginia. They will explore how his actions conformed to the idea of justice and through his example, learn how they can pursue justice in their own lives.
Two Views of Religious Liberty: Massachusetts Bay and Rhode Island
In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of the roles John Winthrop and Roger Williams played in American history. They will also compare and contrast competing models of religious liberty in the Massachusetts Bay and Rhode Island colonies and assess the significance of each model to the American experiment in religious liberty.
The Constitution, the First Amendment, and Religious Liberty
In this lesson, students will learn how leading Founders and religious dissenters contributed to religious liberty in America. Students will analyze primary source documents concerning the relationship between church and state, assess arguments for and against an established religion and a public role for religion in civic life and gain an appreciation for the philosophical and political process of the American experiment in religious liberty.
Religious Liberty and the Supreme Court
In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of how the doctrine of incorporation broadened the application of the First Amendment. They will also gain an understanding of the facts of landmark Establishment Clause Supreme Court cases, evaluate arguments about the scope of the Establishment Clause, and assess the Supreme Court's interpretations of the First Amendment with respect to religion in public schools.
Religious Toleration and Religious Liberty
In this lesson, students will explore the evolution in the United States from religious toleration to religious liberty. Students will examine the difference between the two, analyze documents concerning both, and evaluate the significance of this change.