Philip Bigler and Annie Lorsbach
An excerpt from Philip Bigler and Annie Lorsbach, Liberty and Learning: the Essential James Madison (Harrisonburg, VA: James Madison Center, James Madison University, 2009).
With independence from Great Britain finally secured through the ratification of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, domestic concerns once again became more prominent. Many Virginians were appalled by what was generally perceived to be a lack of civic virtue among their citizens. There was a widespread consensus that this problem was caused by the growing secularization of society and the resulting moral laxity. To compensate, a seemingly minor and innocuous piece of legislation was introduced in the state legislature to authorize the government to financially support “teachers of the Christian religion.”