President Thomas Jefferson, author of the phrase “separation of church and state,” asked Congress to ratify a treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians, which they did this day, Dec. 3, 1803. It stated: “Whereas the greater part of said tribe have been baptized … into the Catholic Church, to which they are much attached, the United States will give annually, for seven years, one hundred dollars toward the support of a priest … who will … perform … the duties of his office, and … instruct as many … children as possible.” The treaty, signed by Jefferson, concluded: “The United States will further give the sum of three hundred dollars to assist … in the erection of a church.”

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