George Washington

Letter to Touro Synagogue

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In 1790, Moses Seixas of the Touro Synagogue wrote a letter to President Washington. Representing a people who had been escaping persecution for generations, he wanted confirmation that Jews would be given full freedom in the United States. Washington assured Seixas, and those of all religions, that “the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” This
letter provides insight into two founding principles of America: freedom of religion and separation of church and state.


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