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All the recorded references to the religion clauses during the drafting of the Bill of Rights by the First Congress

On June 8, 1789, James Madison introduced into the House of Representatives what were to emerge as the religion clauses of our First Amendment. What follows are all the references to these clauses in the debate on the Bill of Rights on the floor of both Houses of the First Congress.

The Debate in the House

Monday, June 8, 1789:

Saturday, August 15, 1789:

Monday, August 17, 1789:

Thursday, August 20, 1789:

The Debate in the Senate

All that is recorded of the debate over the religion clauses in the Senate of the First Congress is a list of motions and votes in the Senate Journal. Constitutional scholar Derek Davis summarizes the record as follows:

The Conference Committee

September 24, 1789:

The House proceeded to consider the report of a committee of conference, on the subject matter of the amendments depending between the two houses to the several articles of amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as proposed by this House; whereupon, it was resolved, that they recede from their disagreement to all the amendments; provided that the two articles, which, by the amendments of the Senate, are now proposed to be inserted as the third and eighth articles shall be amended to read as follows: Article three, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

On the motion, it was resolved, that the President of the United States be requested to transmit to the Executives of the several States which have ratified the constitution, copies of the amendments proposed by Congress, to be added thereto and like copies to the Executives of Rhode Island and North Carolina. (Annals of Congress, 1:913-914)

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