test act


test act
1. any law requiring a person to belong to the established church of a country as a condition for holding public office.
2. (caps.) Eng. Hist. the statute (1673) requiring all military officers and public officials to take an oath of allegiance to the Crown, receive the sacraments of the Church of England, and reject the doctrine of transubstantiation: repealed in 1828.
[1700-10]

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(1673) Act passed by the British Parliament that required holders of civil and military offices to profess the established religion and to receive Holy Communion according to the rites of the Church of England.

Though directed primarily against Roman Catholics, it extended in principle to all non-Anglicans; it was modified in 1689 to enable most non-Catholics to qualify. An act adopted in 1828 removed the test. In the U.S. Constitution, Article VI prescribes that "no religious test" shall be required for any officeholder. See also Catholic Emancipation.

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▪ British history
      in England, Scotland, and Ireland, any law that made a person's eligibility for public office depend upon his profession of the established religion. In Scotland, the principle was adopted immediately after the Reformation, and an act of 1567 made profession of the reformed faith a condition of public office. Such a law was not at first necessary in England, where penal laws against those who failed to conform to the established church were so severe as automatically to exclude such persons from public life. In the more tolerant climate of the late 17th and 18th centuries, Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters were normally able to practice their religion unmolested; but the Anglican majority's fear of subversion led to their being precluded from officeholding. The form that the test took in England was to make the receiving of Holy Communion according to the rites of the Church of England a condition precedent to the acceptance of office. It was first embodied in legislation in 1661 as a requisite for membership of a town corporation and was extended to cover all public offices by the Test Act of 1673. During the 18th century the tests were, on the whole, less strenuously applied; in Scotland, only those engaged in education were required to make profession, while in England some known Protestant dissenters openly practiced “occasional conformity.” Roman Catholics could not do that and, accordingly, were still excluded from office until an act of 1828 removed the test and the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 abolished other legal disabilities imposed on them. The test acts themselves were formally repealed in the 1860s and '70s, and religious tests were abolished in the universities except in connection with degrees and professorships in divinity. Scottish tests were abolished in 1889.

      In Ireland, the Anglican sacramental test was introduced in 1704, and English legislation on oaths of allegiance and religious declarations became valid there in 1782. All of these provisions were abolished in 1871.

      Article VI of the Constitution of the United States prescribes that “no religious test shall ever be required as qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” A similar provision is written into the constitutions of most U.S. states.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • TEST ACT — (1673) Loi votée par le Parlement de Londres et promulguée par Charles II. Dû aux initiatives de lord Shaftesbury, le Test Act entendait opposer une barrière inexpugnable à toute tentative de restauration catholique en Angleterre, et cela après… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Test act — Test Test, n. [OE. test test, or cupel, potsherd, F. t[^e]t, from L. testum an earthen vessel; akin to testa a piece of burned clay, an earthen pot, a potsherd, perhaps for tersta, and akin to torrere to patch, terra earth (cf. {Thirst}, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Test Act — Test Act, the a law made in 1673 in the UK which prevented Catholics from becoming members of Parliament or having jobs in the government. This law was ended in 1828 …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Test Act — The Test Acts were a series of English penal laws that served as a religious test for public office and imposed various civil disabilities on Roman Catholics and Nonconformists. The principle that none but persons professing the Established… …   Wikipedia

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  • Test Act — Se conocen como Test Acts a una serie de leyes penales inglesas del siglo XVII que instauraban la revocación de diversos derechos cívicos, civiles o de familia para los católicos romanos y otros disidentes religiosos no anglicanos. Instauraron… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Test Act — Die Testakte (englisch Test Act, „Probe“) war ein Gesetz, das das englische Parlament 1673 von Karl II. erzwang. Es schrieb für jeden staatlichen Beamten – zusätzlich zum Suprematseid (der die oberste Kirchengewalt der Krone betraf) – zwingend… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • TEST ACT —    act of date 1673, now repealed, requiring all officials under the crown to take the oath of allegiance and supremacy, &c.; directed equally against Dissenters, Roman Catholics, &c …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Test Act — noun 1》 (in the UK) an act in force between 1673 and 1828 that made an oath of allegiance to the Church of England a condition of eligibility for public office. 2》 (in the UK) an act of 1871 relaxing restrictions on university entrance …   English new terms dictionary

  • Test Act — /tɛst/ (say test) noun British History a statute, passed 1673 and repealed 1828, requiring military officers and public officials to swear an oath of allegiance to the Crown and take the sacraments of the Church of England …   Australian English dictionary


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