What the founders meant by the first Amendment


United States is a country with rich culture and history. Worth noting is the fact that, throughout American history, religion and in particular Church has played an integral part in development of the State. Values such as democracy and freedom were brought by Christians who fled from British Monarch.

However, when the first amendment was entrenched into the bill of rights, the State gradually moved away from Church values and instead strengthened secularism. The Church feels cheated as they made a great contribution to the foundation of State. This paper will try to explore what the founders of the first amendment meant, when they wrote the bill (Holcomb 23).

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What the founders meant by the first Amendment

The first amendment was written over 200 years ago by the founders who wanted to protect both the State and religion from interfering in each others tasks. However, its interpretation has raised concern as courts insist it is not absolute while the congress believes that it is. This has led to confusion over its exact meaning and relevance to the State and Church.

Its meaning has always varied with each side taking to their interpretations. Even though it was written more than 200 years ago, it has endured any significant alteration. It states the congress is not to respect any established religion when making laws… This was ideally meant to protect them from executing each other’s duties, and did not mean Church could not advice the State (Holcomb 12).

The founders wanted openness as well as democracy in United States. They were tired of tyranny and control of information which had restricted people from airing their grievances. They had the purpose of ending this form of life forever, and therefore wrote this amendment in the bill of rights. They believed that the population needed to share information so as to live in unity and harmony.

They also hoped to protect the state from a stronger religion which could begin dictatorship as was in the days of Rome. The founders feared tyranny, which they had witnessed under British monarchy and wanted a better future for the American population. However, this was interpreted in many ways to an extent that currently, the State is completely separated from Church.

Instead, secularism has encroached in government, and the society at large. All religions are treated equally, even though others impact on more people than the rest. Though the founders of the bill had good intentions for the country, it is not clear why they did not seal the loopholes (Holcomb 113).


When the first amendment was written, its aims ware established by the founders, they were intended to protect both State and Church. However, this took a twist as each side interpreted the bill to befit their conditions. This only confirms the bill was not complete in its description of relationship between Church and State.

Courts have made it clear that the bill is not absolute, however the State insists on its other meaning, which keeps religion at bay. American populations, majority of which are Christians, cannot have their way, both in schools and institutions, these are the severity of such conflicts between Church and State (Holcomb 23).

Work Cited

Holcomb, David. “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land: a History of Church and State in America”. USA: Oxford University Press, 2003


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