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Leland-Madison Memorial Park - Orange County VA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member La de Boheme
N 38° 15.447 W 078° 00.693
17S E 761485 N 4238604
Quick Description: A small park with a monument memorializes the place James Madison and Baptist John Leland met to discuss including the right of religious freedom in the Constitution.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 9/4/2012 4:16:49 PM
Waymark Code: WMF79H
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member scrambler390
Views: 2

Long Description:
In 1788, John Leland, an influential Baptist preacher born in Massachusetts and living in Virginia, met with James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, to discuss Virginia's support for ratification of the Constitution.

A draft had been submitted to several states for approval in 1787. Virginia and Massachusetts were opposed because there was no provision for religious freedom. Madison who was seeking to be elected the VA delegate to the Constitution convention met with Leland on the road from Fredericksburg to Orange, VA and promised, if elected, he would support an amendment for freedom of religion. Leland threw his influence and support behind Madison whose first draft of the First Amendment concerning religious freedom read "The Civil Rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, nor on any pretext infringed." After several revisions, the final wording was "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." and the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified in 1791.*

The historic meeting place of Leland and Madison was preserved as the Leland-Madison Park. The small park is located about six miles east of Orange at the intersection of US 20/Constitution Hwy. and SR 658/Clifton Rd. There is a plaque mounted on a boulder situated on a slate terrace. The plaque is inscribed:

1754 [Relief of John Leland] 1841

ELDER JOHN LELAND
COURAGEOUS LEADER OF
THE BAPTIST DOCTRINE
ARDENT ADVOCATE OF THE PRINCIPLES
OF DEMOCRACY
VINDICATOR OF SEPARATION
OF CHURCH AND STATE.

NEAR THIS SPOT IN 1788, ELDER JOHN LELAND AND
JAMES MADISON, THE FATHER OF THE AMERICAN
CONSTITUTION HELD A SIGNIFICANT INTERVIEW
WHICH RESULTED IN THE ADOPTION OF THE
CONSTITUTION BY VIRGINIA. THEN MADISON,
A MEMBER OF CONGRESS FROM ORANGE PRESENTED
THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION
GUARANTEEING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, FREE SPEECH AND
A FREE PRESS. THIS SATISFIED LELAND AND HIS
BAPTIST FOLLOWERS.

PRESENTED BY EUGENE BUCKLIN BOWEN, PRESIDENT
BERKSHIRE COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS CHAPTER
SONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

A stone in front of the monument on the terrace reads:

DEDICATION
OF
LELAND-MADISON MONUMENTAL PARK
"RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOR ALL"
OCTOBER 4, 1953
ORANGE COUNTY JAYCEES

Today, the Leland-Madison Memorial Park is under the direction of the Goshen Baptist Association.

*Note that Thomas Jefferson also played an important role with support for religious freedom and the Bill of Rights when he authored the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom which has also been credited with being incorporated into the Constitution.

References:

Relevant Website: [Web Link]

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