In 1777, one year after he wrote the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson drafted a bill for Virginia’s legislature, the General Assembly, to guarantee religious freedom in the state. The bill was introduced in the legislature in 1779 and passed into law on 16 January 1786. It established several principles that were later incorporated into the United States Bill of Rights. Jefferson considered the statute one of his greatest achievements; it was one of only three of his many accomplishments that he wanted to be included in the epitaph on his tombstone.
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