John Leland and James Madison: Religious Influence on the Ratification of the Constitution and on the Proposal of the Bill of Rights -- Working Paper on SSRN
Mark.Scarberry at pepperdine.edu
Tue Sep 2 17:50:46 PDT 2008
Shameless self-promotion alert, and with apologies for the
In case anyone is interested, I've just posted a working paper (actually
a nearly completed article) to SSRN entitled:
"John Leland and James Madison: Religious Influence on the Ratification
of the Constitution and on the Proposal of the Bill of Rights"
You can see the abstract and download the full text at
Leland was an itinerant Baptist preacher who became one of the leading
Baptists in Virginia and one of the key proponents of religious liberty
for all, both in Virginia and later in New England. My article discusses
his influence (and Baptist influence generally) on Madison's 1788
election to the Virginia ratifying convention and 1789 election to the
First Congress. Others have noted Leland's influence on these elections
and the possibly substantial effect on American history that may have
resulted. (Without Madison at the convention, Virginia might not have
ratified the Constitution, and without him in the First Congress we
might not have a Bill of Rights.) My article considers the evidence for
Leland's and the Baptists' influence on those elections and comes up
with, I think, some new information or conclusions. For example, George
Eve's famous defense of Madison in a Baptist church meeting did not
happen, as is generally assumed, at Eve's Blue Run Baptist church in
Orange County (Madison's home county), but rather at Eve's Rapidan
Baptist church in Culpeper County, the pivotal county in the
congressional election. (Eve actually was the pastor of three churches.)
The article also discusses Leland more generally, including Leland's
relationship with Jefferson, Leland's criticism of slavery, and the easy
availability now of Leland's works on Google Books.
The paper is a very substantial expansion of a presentation I made in
the spring at the Boston College Law and Religion Program symposium on
Electing Faith: The Intersection of Law and Politics. My panel more
specifically was to address the effect of religion on elections and the
legislation that may result. I took the term "legislation" broadly to
include ratification of the Constitution and amendment of it by way of a
Bill of Rights.
The BC Law and Religion Program does not yet publish a journal and thus
I will be seeking a home for the article.
Comments or suggestions for improvement would be very much appreciated.
Mark S. Scarberry
Pepperdine University School of Law
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