It is common knowledge that the United States was originally settled either by God-fearing men and women fleeing from persecution, or by political refugees who were unable to bring about reforms which they believed essential to good government and were unwilling to comply with the state of affaire existing in the Old World, or, finally, by those who, unfortunate at home, were desirous of bettering their condition in the New World. The Pilgrim and the Puritan, the Episcopalian and the Catholic, the Quaker, the Presbyterian and the Lutheran settled the Atlantic Coast. The roundhead and the cavalier, the rich and the poor and the inmate of the debtor’s prison found themselves side by side upon a plane of equality without the traditions and the conservatism of an older world. Whether the colony was composed of Puritans and manifested intolerance to the protestant brother of a different faith; whether the settlement remained loyal to the Church of England, as Virginia, or favored the Catholic, as Maryland, or freely accepted the law-abiding without questioning his religion, as the Quakers of Pennsylvania, the principle of religious toleration steadily gained ground, and by the time of the Revolution it may be said generally that religious differences ceased to influence men or their conduct toward each other, by virtue of a conception of liberty which embraced not merely the right to and protection of property but the freedom of thought, of speech and of public worship. The example of Virginia, which in 1786 established religious freedom by statute, profoundly influenced the Federal Government and the various States of the Union; for, by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, it is provided that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and the States of the American Union have, in their various Constitutions, placed the same restriction upon their legislatures. The amendment of the Constitution and the like provisions in State Constitutions were not dictated by indifference or hostility to the principles of the Christian religion, but aimed to prevent not merely the establishment of any one form of religion, however widely spread, but to establish upon a firm footing the right before the law of every religious sect.