The Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists Church in 1802 are three documents that played a crucial role in the foundation of the US as a sovereign nation. Notably, the three documents are similar, yet they differ in various ways. Comparing the three documents shows that they emphasized liberty, although they were written at different times and entail varying themes.
Dates of Establishment of Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, and Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists Church and their Importance
The three documents were written at different times. The Declaration of Independence came first (1776), followed by the US Constitution (1787), and Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptist Church (1802) (Marcovitz, 2014), (Bodenhamer, 2018), (Wilber Jr, 2018). Therefore, between the three documents, the Declaration of Independence came first. This is important because it announced the establishment of the US as a sovereign nation as such setting the stage for the creation of laws to govern the citizens (Marcovitz, 2014).
Themes in The Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, and Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists Church
The three documents are similar in that they all entail the theme of liberty. The Declaration of Independence emphasizes that all people are created equally and, as s such, have certain alienable rights, including liberty, life, and pursuit of happiness (Marcovitz, 2014). The Bible supports the belief that all people are created equally. Galatians 3:28 states that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The Constitution also emphasizes the importance of liberty, whereby it states that no state shall deprive any citizen of life, liberty, or property without following due process of law (Bodenhamer, 2018). Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Church also entail the theme of liberty. Jefferson insists on individuals having freedom of worship as religion is a matter between individuals and their God (Wilber Jr, 2018).
Read also Main Principles in the US Constitution
The main difference between the three letters is their intent and purpose. Notably, the Declaration of Independence is a statement that proclaims the independence of the thirteen states from the British rule. It also lays out the US government’s philosophy regarding the belief that all citizens are created equally and are entitled to certain alienable rights (Marcovitz, 2014). As for the Constitution, it is the supreme law of the land and the basis of the US government. The Constitution declares that there will be a President, a Congress, and a Supreme Court and lays out the power of each institution (Bodenhamer, 2018). Lastly, Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptist Church was a reply to a letter sent to him by the church on October 7, 1801, expressing concern over the lack of explicit protection of religious freedom in their state constitution. In the letter, Jefferson insists that there must be a wall of separation between Church and State (Wilber Jr, 2018).
Separation of Church and State
The signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution believed that separation of Church and State was necessary. Notably, the separation of Church and State refers to the principle emphasizing that the government must maintain a neutral attitude towards religion. They thought that it was important that citizens have the freedom to practice the religion of their choice. The separation of Church and State prevents the government from officially recognizing or favoring any religion (Wilber Jr, 2018).