When the Bolsheviks succeeded in their coup d'etat in October 1917, religious freedom became a matter of universal concern, for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics became the first state in history that made the extermination of all religions an essential part of its program of domestic and international revolution. Especially in the United States, where religious freedom signifies more than the definition used by the United Nations and where it is enjoyed in fuller measure than elsewhere in the world, one senses a profound concern over threats to this freedom and an intensified desire to extend and deepen its meaning at home and abroad. Religious freedom has become one of the great issues of the twentieth century in the United States and in the world at large. Early settlement of country was in large part due to the search for a haven by persons whose religious beliefs and practices had exposed them to disabilities in their native lands.