November 4 in freethought history…

November 4, 1796 – The Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary (a.k.a. the Treaty of Tripoli) is signed by representatives of the newborn United States and the North African coastal state of Tripolitania. Most notably, the treaty contains the following passage: “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” The Treaty was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate and signed by President John Adams.

November 4, 1922 – British freethinker John William Gott, the last person imprisoned for blasphemy in the United Kingdom, dies aged 56. He was actually imprisoned more than once for publishing materials offensive to Christians and for distributing information about birth control.

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