ANALYSIS OF PRIMARY SOURCE
Analysisof Primary Source
PrimarySource A: An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty
John Patrick has a long-standing career in education and history, andhe has authored numerous publications in the field of politicalthought and civic knowledge. On the other hand, Gerald Long is aprominent scholar in history and has a wealth of experience inpolitical intelligence. Together, the two authors compiled AnAppeal to the Public for Religious Liberty in their book dubbed,Constitutional Debates on Freedom of Religion: Documentary History.The article was written to express Backus’ ideas against theinstitution of taxes by the government to the Baptist church for thepurpose of supporting the Congregational Church that was propped bythe state (Patrick & Long, 1999). According to Backus, there wasa need to draw a line between the affairs of the state and personalconscience that was guided by religion. There was also need forreligious liberty that was supposed to be enjoyed by the citizensregardless of their religious affiliation.
The article reflects the occurrences in the early 18th century.Americans had conceived the idea of a new nation that was founded onthe principle of equality. Therefore, for Backus and his followers,it was unfair to charge taxes on a section of the citizens to supportanother institution that was supported by the state (Patrick &Long, 1999). The increased awareness on individual rights was aninstigating factor towards the agitation for religious liberty.
SourceB: A Peace Sect Wrestles with the Problem of Hiring a Substitute
Peter Brock is a renowned historian and writer with interest inAmerican and European history. He has authored a collection of worksin which he provides some instrumental documents that were written tosettle controversial matters. The piece of work, A Peace SectWrestles with the Problem of Hiring a Substitute, was written toaddress the problem arising from the self-alienation of the Quarksfrom the civil war.
Various parties participated in the American Revolution. The Britishwho were living in the colonies found it difficult to follow thedemands of the locals with regard to contributing to the war.Particularly, the Quakers who assumed a pacifist way of life were notwilling to contribute towards the war in any war and some of themcame up with the idea of paying individuals to substitute them in thewar (Brock, 2002). In addition, they opposed the idea of contributingtaxes meant to facilitate war. According to the author, if a Quakeror his son were drafted into war, it would not be deemed as sinful ifthey were redeemed from the battle. In addition, if money were givenby a member to avoid going into war, the church would pardon such anact if it was repented.
The article corresponds to the occurrences and nature of war duringthe American Revolution. The Quarks did not participate in the warwillingly due to their religious beliefs. However, the citizens weresupposed to contribute toward the war either by being drafted orremitting taxes (Brock, 2002). The idea was drawn from the need tohave the nations united to form a formidable force against thecolonists.
The two articles relate to each other in their different contexts.First, they touch on aspects of religion that were in conflict withthe state. In the source A, Backus agitates for the separation of thestate from matters that required the application of religiousconscience. On the other hand, the brothers sought to be excludedfrom going to war or contributing taxes to fund the conflict. Theyalso involve sections of religious groups that were subject tostatutory authority which seemed discriminative. Finally, they bothoffered a compromise on the issues in question. Backus advocated forreligious liberty which was later upheld while the brothers agreed tosupport the war indirectly.
Brock, P. (2002). Liberty and conscience: A documentary history ofthe experiences of conscientious objectors in America through theCivil War. United Kingdom U.K.: Oxford University Press.
Patrick, J. J., & Long, G. P. (1999). Constitutional debateson freedom of religion: A documentary history. Westport:Greenwood Publishing Group.