John Leland and James Madison: Religious Influence on theRatification of the Constitution and on the Proposal of theBill of Rights -- Working Paper on SSRN
rs at robertsheridan.com
Tue Sep 2 20:59:51 PDT 2008
Good ideas from mundane, not to say terrible, beginnings?
From the mud, the lotus?
I should hope so, for what other source is there?
On Sep 2, 2008, at 8:15 PM, Calvin Johnson wrote:
> It is quite plausible that the Baptists provided the critical votes
> to put Madison into Congress. Patrick Henry, the arch nemesis, put
> James Monroe up against Madison in the election and Monroe, as shown
> later, was an attractive candidate. But the logical link between
> the Baptist support and the bill of rights is quite weak, even in
> the wrong direction. The Bill of Rights is a misdirected remedy for
> what is bothering Leland and Madison. Leland got nothing from it,
> as expected from the nature of the Bill of Rights.
> The suppression of Baptist free exercise and the
> establishment of Episcopal Church in Virginia came from Patrick
> Henry, the most powerful boss of Virginia. Henry came from a long
> line of Presbyterian dunkers and was no more sympathetic to the
> dissenting religions than his kin. He was the one who had proposed
> a tax to support mostly Episcopal ministers that Madison was able to
> beat with an unheard of technique now called grass roots lobbying.
> Patrick Henry is the primary target of Federalist 10. In the
> small republics, the states, Madison said, Episcopals would
> suppress Baptists (Viriginia), Presbyterians would oppress Angicans
> (Pa.) and vice versa (Pa.), Congregationalists would suppress any
> one not Congregationalist (Mass). But on the national level, with
> the extended republic, no sect could predominate and all would live
> happily with each other and allow individual freedom of conscience.
> a nonsectarian Protestant ideal. Patrick Henry was plausibly the
> primary target of the Constitution. The Constitution is fairly
> described as Madison's revenge upon Henry on all the issues
> ( including religion) they had fought over in the prior decade in
> The Bill of Rights, however, has no impact on the states, where
> the problem arises in fact and under Madisonian theory. The Bill
> of Rights affects only the Federal government, the extended
> republic, where no suppression was possible because no sect was
> predominant. It is a fine workable theory that the Bill of Rights
> is a near meaningless sop, prohibiting establishment and suppression
> of religion on the fedreal level where no establishement or
> suppression was possible and leaving the established churches and
> religious oppression free to work in the states where the serious
> problem was. Leland got nothing out the Bill of Rights.
> The Bill of Rights is plausibly described as sop -- a crumb
> to evil RI and unimportant North Carolina, which state had not
> ratified, but signifying nothing, given its intended design
> From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu on behalf of Scarberry, Mark
> Sent: Tue 9/2/2008 7:50 PM
> To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu; religionlaw at lists.ucla.edu; election-law at mailman.lls.edu
> Subject: John Leland and James Madison: Religious Influence on
> theRatification of the Constitution and on the Proposal of theBill
> of Rights -- Working Paper on SSRN
> Shameless self-promotion alert, and with apologies for the cross-
> 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
> You can see the abstract and download the full text at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1262520
> 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
> 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
> Mark S. Scarberry
> Pepperdine University School of Law
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