In 1780, Virginia’s capital was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond to increase its accessibility and avert British attack by sea. On this corner, in commercial buildings confiscated from Loyalists, the General Assembly met until 1788. Here Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom, which decoupled religion and government, was adopted through the extraordinary efforts of Del. James Madison. This law, the model for many other states, laid the foundation for the religion clauses of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Here, too, Virginia relinquished its claim to the Northwest Territory and began its contentious debate over ratification of the federal Constitution.
Original Sponsor: Randolph W. Wyckoff, First Freedom Center
Geographic Location: Richmond (City)
Physical Description of Location: Proposed Location: Northwest corner of the intersection of South 14th and East Cary Streets, Richmond VA
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