Discussion Questions

The following sets of discussion questions correspond to the major topics within the Memorial and Remonstrance context.

James Madison

  1. To what extent do Madison’s efforts to establish freedom and individual rights clarify and conflict with his efforts to establish a strong central government?
  2. How can we better understand Madison through his relationship with Thomas Jefferson?
  3. How can scholars disagree about Madison’s religion? Do his personal beliefs matter one way or the other? Why would Madison have tried to keep his religious beliefs private as opposed to a man like Thomas Paine who was open about his deism?

 Fight for Religious Freedom in Virginia

  1. What is the difference between religious tolerance and religious liberty? How does each affect the followers of the established church and dissenters?
  2. Were the arguments supporting/opposing establishment based primarily on religious or personal liberties? Which approach do you think is more convincing?
  3. How did the arguments against the General Assessment Bill help the final passing of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom?

Influences on Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance

  1. How are influences of Locke’s writing seen in Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance?
  2. How are Madison’s views on the role of government similar to the views of Locke and Jefferson?
  3. How did the concept of unalienable rights influence Madison’s arguments in his Memorial and Remonstrance?