Kevin M. Kruse @KevinMKruse Historian. Author/editor of White Flight; The New Suburban History; Spaces of the Modern City; Fog of War; One Nation Under God; Fault Lines. Oct. 14, 2018 1 min read

“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” — The Treaty of Tripoli, 1796

That treaty was begun by Washington, signed by Adams, and approved in the Senate by a unanimous vote

What made the USA different at its founding wasn’t that the nation elevated religion but that, unlike most others, it kept religion at arm’s length from the state.

No religious test for office holders. No establishment of religion. A guarantee of free religious exercise.

This was done not just to protect the state from the kind of religious squabbles that had consumed Europe, but also to protect various faiths from the meddling of the government.

Most of the founders believed both institutions would fare much better on their own.


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