On August 17, 1790, President Washington made his much-anticipated visit to Newport, Rhode Island accompanied by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and other officials. The Christian community of Newport had shown exemplary respect to their Jewish neighbors; however, as citizens, Jews had not been able to obtain full political equality in Rhode Island, in particular, to vote or hold public office. As members of a minority religion, they looked to the new national government to eliminate the last obstacles to civil and religious equality.
Letters of welcome were read to President Washington upon his arrival, and among them was a letter penned by Moses Seixas on behalf of the Newport Jewish community. The letter expressed esteem for Washington's enlightened leadership and gratitude for being a part of an important experiment, where the new government of the people could ensure their "invaluable rights as free citizens" on the same basis as Christians. President Washington later responded to the Seixas letter, and his written response made a significant mark in history, as it addressed the ideal relationship between government, individual citizens and religious communities.
TOPIC: How well has the United States lived up to the standard of religious freedom and religious equality set forth in the 1790 Washington letter to the Hebrew (Jewish) Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island? Please answer the question in the following way:
|1.||Describe what Washington identified as the basic principle(s) of religious liberty in his letter (letter follows).|
|2.||Then select a minority religion or belief group in your community, state or region whose present and/or historical rights to freedom of religion, conscience or belief have been met or not met. Be specific in the description of your claim.|
|3 ||Also identify how this particular claim is a part of the broader narrative of the right to freedom of religion, conscience or belief in the United States for this group.|
Reference academically respected sources that give background on differing interpretations of how well the United States has lived up to Washington's standard of religious freedom and religious equality.
MANDATORY GUIDELINES: ESSAY
- 750 to 1,450 words
- Report number of words used at the end of your essay text, prior to the works-cited page
- Essay must be in English
- Use Arial or Times New Roman font - 12 point
- Essay must be double spaced with 1" margins
- See Mrs. Stoner for additional format requirements
- Students must pre-register to to receive an ID number.
ANY ENTRY THAT DOES NOT CONFORM TO ALL ENTRY REQUIREMENTS WILL BE DISQUALIFIED!
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