Letter to the Hebrew Congregation
Letter to the Hebrew Congregation 1
George Washington (1732-1799)
The Constitution of 1787 said little directly about religion, with the notable exception of a ban on religious tests as a requirement for federal office. When Washington was elected president, the Bill of Rights had not yet been adopted. Despite this, in his response to a congratulatory note sent to him by a group of Jewish Americans, President Washington characterized religious liberty not as a gift of government or a matter of toleration, but as a natural right possessed by every human being.
August 18, 1790
While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of esteem; I rejoice in the opportunity ...