Religious Freedom 101: A brief history of America’s first freedom

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Religious freedom has always been an essential part of the American experiment. Original colonists in the 1600s fled religious oppression and founded four of the first American colonies. Later, the new United States enshrined religious freedom in the First Amendment. Americans have had an up-and-down struggle to live up to that amendment – including periods of remarkable acceptance of the faith and practices of religious minorities as well as periods of open hostility toward religion. The story of America is partly a story of an ongoing struggle to achieve the aspiration of religious freedom for Americans.