George Washington's Influence Of Religion And The American Presidency

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George Washington was more than just a puppet for individuals and advisors to use to spread their own ideas. Washington was a deep intellectual who had firm convictions and understood his great role as the first President of the United States was significant and about more than just his actions, but included his words as well. Espinosa says in Religion and the American Presidency “the president-elect was conscious that his actions would set precedent”. This knowledge forced him to contemplate all his actions and speeches in order to support and establish the United States in the best way possible. George Washington understood the importance of being the first person to occupy the office of the Presidency and established religious precedents …show more content…
Washington’s “ understanding of free government requires the moralization of politics, which includes—and requires—the expansion of religious influence in our politics”. He believed that mixing politics and religion was not only okay, but it was necessary for government to function correctly. His gallantry and courage on the battlefield undoubtedly helped to create this civil religion. People of that day and years later deified Washington as a god, comparing him to Moses and Cincinnatus, “the legendary Roman dictator-turned-farmer”. However, Washington, through his calculated use of the Presidency, understood this and even used this to his advantage in order to help create a type of civil religion. Espinosa says, “ Washington deliberately leveraged his character, office, and moral authority to help create the ritual and liturgy of an American public religion”. He knew the American people loved him and he used this to help establish a “civil …show more content…
John Adams’ signature on this bill “raised the specter of an established religion in shrewd constitutional thinkers”. This bill would directly effect religious institutions and their followers because it would hinder them from saying and doing what they believe if that disagreed with the government. John Adams was quite heavy handed and challenged Washington’s precedence of total religious freedom irrespective of people’s beliefs. This altered Washington’s precedents by the new President authorizing it to be illegal to disagree with the President, and the government in general. This undermines religion because if a religion disagrees with the government they are not afforded their constitutional right to disagree and continue practicing their beliefs. This goes directly against Washington’s beliefs and precedents that religion is “one of the two ‘great Pillars’” and that anyone who attempts to undermine religion would not be able to claim patriotism any longer. By limiting people’s ability to worship freely and favoring one religion goes completely against Washington’s precedents. Whether he meant to or not, this is exactly what Adams did in his signing of the Alien and Sedition

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