Madison Vs Thomas Jefferson Essay

As a result of their ideas on the role of government in public and private lives, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were two of the most influential Founding Fathers. Perhaps their greatest influence was in regard to religion and the separation of church and state. To this day, their writings are influential to how we perceive the role of government in religious matters. Two of the leading writings from Jefferson and Madison are the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom and the Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, respectively. Both writings were written in a time of great struggle against Patrick Henry and the issue of a general tax to support churches and they both share similar traits in their wording and clear influence…

They were political leaders in the General Assembly of Virginia. As a result, he argued for the separation of church and state in a more political light and these reasons were heavily drawn from Lockean principles, much like how Jefferson drew from Locke’s religious appeals. Perhaps the biggest influence on Madison’s ideas from Locke is the idea of the social contract that is designed to guarantee everyone’s freedoms. He reiterates Locke’s point that the ultimate goal of a civil society is to protect one’s freedoms and liberty and that no majority should trespass on the rights of a minority. Another point that Madison borrows from Locke is the idea that toleration is necessary for a peaceful state. He argues that the general assessment is detrimental for society at large “Because it will destroy that moderation and harmony which the forbearance of our laws to intermeddle with Religion has produced among its several sects” (Madison 1). When oppression happens against any minority group, unrest boils underneath which eventually breaks out into violence. Therefore, Madison and Locke argue, it is necessary to tolerate all religious practices to prevent a tumultuous state. All of these points raised by Madison are heavily drawn from Locke nearly a century earlier, much like…