June 12, 1779 – The Act for Establishing Religious Freedom (a.k.a.the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom) was introduced in the Virginia General Assembly. It did not pass. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1777, the Act sought to disestablish the Church of England in Virginia, and guaranteed religious freedom for all creeds. The Statute eventually passed in 1786. Although it opens with the words “Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free,” it was a leap forward for religious freedom, and had considerable influence on the development of the US Constitution.
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