The purpose of this book is to show how early Americans understood the right to freely exercise religion. In doing this, it also shows how they understood the religion clauses of the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . . .”), for they were intended to protect that right. More specifically, this book will show how early Americans answered four questions: (1) What kinds of laws affecting religion do the religion clauses prohibit? (2) What is meant by religion? (3) Do the clauses give persons a right to be exempt from obeying valid laws that infringe on their practice of religion? (4) Are there exceptions to the clauses’ prohibitions?