Master of Arts (M.A.)
"By the Dear, Immortal Memory of Washington" Americans have long used the Founding Fathers as symbols of patriotism, invoking their names and using their images whenever they wish to demonstrate that a particular way of thinking or acting is true to American ideals. The vague patriotic image of the founders tends to eclipse their actual character, allowing diverse and competing movements to all use them. This has been especially true of George Washington, who long enjoyed a preeminent and almost mythic status among the founders. During the 1860s, both secessionists and unionists claimed him as their own in order to show that America's chief founder would have supported them. Politicians freely tossed his name about in their speeches, and ordinary citizens in the North and South wrote about carrying forth his legacy once the Civil War began. For this reason, Washington's symbolic status is a significant but frequently ignored factor in understanding American thought at the time of the Civil War. The Baptists, Culture, and the Law in Eighteenth-Century Virginia Throughout Virginia's colonial existence, the only established church was the Church of England. By law, all Virginians had to be baptized into it and had to pay taxes to maintain it. But by the middle of the eighteenth century, the colony had acquired a sizeable population of Protestant dissenters. While they disliked the restrictions that the government had placed on their faith, most were content to submit to the law in order to enjoy the benefits of toleration. The Baptists, however, resolutely refused to submit to any law which attempted to control their "God-given" rights to preach and assemble as they felt proper. Rather than moving to the margins of society, the Baptists repeatedly engaged with the Anglican-dominated culture around them, seeking to transform society and bring it more in line with the principles they held sacred. Foremost among these was the conviction that no sincere faith could exist if church membership was compulsory. Throughout the Revolutionary era, the Baptists led the fight for religious freedom, bringing about a complete separation of church and state.
© The Author
Breton, Douglas, ""By the Dear, Immortal Memory of Washington"/The Baptists, Culture, and the Law in Eighteenth-Century Virginia" (2018). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. Paper 1550153829.