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Constitution of the United States AMENDMENT I Religious establishment prohibited Freedom of speech of the press and right to petition 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 Many people today take for granted the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States which guarantees religious and political freedom Since its conception the United States of America has been famed for promising this right and offering equal opportunity to all However that freedom that is sometimes forgotten in modern times would have been inconceivable four hundred years ago The Protestant Reformation of the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century spawned wars and political upheaval When it became apparent that some Catholics clearly were not reforming and it was no longer acceptable to be a Catholic in some European countries many of the problem citizens were simply exiled Historically a great deal of the Catholic European settlers came to America While some sought political and religious freedom it was also clear that there was much money to be made in the English colonies In addition some settlers carried lofty ideas of converting the heathen Native Americans to the true religion In 1634 George Calvert founded the first primarily catholic settlement in America Along with Pennsylvania Maryland set out to practice religious tolerance meaning that every Christian religion could be practiced without the fear of government persecution This was a radical notion then when the King decided the religion of his subjects However this freedom did not last long for George Calvert and other Catholics of Maryland Virginia a royal colony expressed hostility towards Maryland settlers by orders of the King Soon due to a small battle between the two in 1689 Maryland succumbed
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