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Comparing the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence

Comparing the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence

For this assignment, you will read the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and Thomas
Jefferson�s Letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802. Once you have read these founding documents and
Jefferson�s letter, you will write a 2�3-page paper (double-spaced, 1-inch margins) in current APA
format, comparing each of them. When comparing the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of
Independence, pay particular attention to the themes apparent in both documents and comment on which

document came first and why that is important.

You must also answer the question, �What do you think the signers of the Declaration of Independence
and the U.S. Constitution thought about the separation of church and state or about the separation of God

from government?� (Note: these are not the same thing.)

Be sure to incorporate a biblical worldview in your paper.

The U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence


The U.S constitution and the Declaration of Independence are two founding documents that hold
the values and laws that govern the people of the United States. Both documents are a product of
the work of nation’s founding fathers. Such a founding father is Thomas Jefferson’s. Some of the
founding fathers’ views were incorporated in the U.S constitution and became law. However,
their views which were never included in the constitution and were treated as opinions. This
work looks what the founding documents share in common with a bias towards separation of
religion and State.
Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802
Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the committee of the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut
shaped what is now known as “wall of separation.” In reply to the Danbury Baptist Association
congratulatory letter for winning the third presidency of the United States, Jefferson says that the
state should not enact any law that regarding any religious establishment or prohibiting the free
exercise of the concerned religion. He referred this situation as the wall of separation between
the Church and the State, Library of Congress (1998). According to Jefferson, this move would
restore man’s natural rights as opposed to social duties.

The U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence


According to the Library of Congress, Jefferson sentiment has become a popular phrase in
United States’ judicial and political environment. The Supreme Court applied Jefferson’s wall of
separation phrase in the case of Reynolds v. United States. The court suggested that it could be
accepted as an authoritative declaration and, therefore, be included in the first amendment. The
same doctrine was upheld by the high court greatly publicized, McCollum v. Board of Education.
McCollum had forbidden religious teaching in public schools, a decision that the high court
The U.S Constitution
Whether the U.S Constitution provides for the separation of the church from the state or not;
remains a heated debate. Those arguing in support of the above cite Jefferson’s wall of
separation as being included in the first amendment. Jefferson, however, was not involved in the
first Amendment of that gave birth to the U.S constitution, Adronius (2003). At the time of the
time of the amendment, Jefferson was an ambassador to France.
The U.S constitution does not endorse nor supports the separation of church and state. The U.S
constitution discourages congress from enacting laws in respect of any religious establishment,
or banning the exercise of such religion. Doing that would abridge the freedom of speech, or the
right of people to gather, True News.Org (2014).The conclusion that Jefferson’s wall of
separation is view is included in the constitution is, therefore, misleading.
The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence established the United States. Thomas Jefferson wrote the
declaration in 1976. Supporters of the separation of church from state use the reference of
“creator” in the Declaration of Independence to support their view. The mention of the creator,

The U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence


however, does no amount endorsement of any religion, Theocracy Watch (2005). If it were the
case, there could be many instances of religion and state entanglement.
The signers of the U.S constitution and The Declaration of Independence never desired such
results. Jefferson only suggested removal of undeserved tax exemption of some church such as
the Anglican Church. Biblically, the wall of separation is used in Ephesians 2:14 “For He
[Christ] Himself is our peace, who has made both one and he has broken down the middle wall
of separation.” (King James Version).


Andonius. (2003, September 22). The Origin of “Separation of Church and State” (good article).
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