What is the source of the quotation "The United States is in no sense founded upon the christian doctrine."
August 24, 2009 5:19 PM   Subscribe

"The United States is in no sense founded upon the christian doctrine." is often attributed to George Washington. Where did he say this? Google turns up many unattributed versions of this quotation, but I couldn't find any attribution or source. Anyone able to do better?
posted by ivey to Religion & Philosophy (5 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
That quote is from Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, which was ratified by Congress in 1797.

George Washington did not write it.
posted by rancidchickn at 5:22 PM on August 24, 2009

Treaty of Tripoli. Adams, not washington.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:24 PM on August 24, 2009

You're looking for the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, ratified unanimously by the Senate and signed by John Adams.
Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 5:24 PM on August 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

Interestingly enough, the Arabic text in that part is completely unrelated to the English version we signed and ratified. The treaty itself was also kind of a failure; we fought two more wars against the "Barbary states" of North Africa as they kept attacking our merchant shipping and demanding tribute. Hence the line "... to the shores of Tripoli ..." in the Marines' Hymn.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 5:48 PM on August 24, 2009

Thanks, y'all. I marked all 3 as best, as the answers built on each other to give the complete picture.
posted by ivey at 7:56 PM on August 24, 2009

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