Madison On The First Amendment

"The civil rights of none, shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext infringed. " - James Madison

The differences between this and the final version of the amendment are rather interesting.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Honestly, I have to say that Madison's version is at once clearer and more powerful, even though the two statements are covering essentially the same material. If only he could have managed to stick with the "nor shall any national religion be established" portion, it might have saved us a few headaches.

Well, at the least, it's an interesting window into what people are now calling original intent.

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