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The Edmunds Resolution

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    ARTICLE XVI.

    “No State shall make any law respecting an establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund therefor, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect, nor shall any money so raised or land so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations.”TER 5.1

    August 4, 1876, Mr. Blaine’s resolution was reported back from the Judiciary Committee with two slight additions, one, of the words “or denomination” following the word “sect” in the second clause, and the other a sentence at the end, saying, “This article shall not vest, enlarge, or diminish legislative power in Congress.”TER 5.2

    It will be seen that Mr. Blaine’s resolution goes a step further than either of the ones which preceded it, in that it embodies in its first clause the substance of the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States, prohibiting any State making any law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. As for the rest of his resolution, it is in substance the same as the other two, simply saying that no public money raised by taxation or derived from public funds for the support of public schools should ever be under the control of any religious sect or divided amongst religious sects or denominations.TER 5.3

    This resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives after brief debate, by vote of 180 yeas to 7 nays, with 98 not voting. The resolution then went to the Senate, and, August 7, was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, with several substitutes which had been offered for it. Two days later, August 9, Senator Edmunds, of the Judiciary Committee, reported back the joint resolution with an amendment which was in fact a substitute, reading as follows:—TER 5.4

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