Separation of Church and State

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Harvard University Press, Jun 30, 2009 - Law - 528 pages
2 Reviews

In a powerful challenge to conventional wisdom, Philip Hamburger argues that the separation of church and state has no historical foundation in the First Amendment. The detailed evidence assembled here shows that eighteenth-century Americans almost never invoked this principle. Although Thomas Jefferson and others retrospectively claimed that the First Amendment separated church and state, separation became part of American constitutional law only much later.

Hamburger shows that separation became a constitutional freedom largely through fear and prejudice. Jefferson supported separation out of hostility to the Federalist clergy of New England. Nativist Protestants (ranging from nineteenth-century Know Nothings to twentieth-century members of the K.K.K.) adopted the principle of separation to restrict the role of Catholics in public life. Gradually, these Protestants were joined by theologically liberal, anti-Christian secularists, who hoped that separation would limit Christianity and all other distinct religions. Eventually, a wide range of men and women called for separation. Almost all of these Americans feared ecclesiastical authority, particularly that of the Catholic Church, and, in response to their fears, they increasingly perceived religious liberty to require a separation of church from state. American religious liberty was thus redefined and even transformed. In the process, the First Amendment was often used as an instrument of intolerance and discrimination.

  

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Review: Separation of Church and State

User Review  - Matthew Sutton - Goodreads

powerful dismantling of pernicious myth. Read full review

Review: Separation of Church and State

User Review  - Joe Kolf - Goodreads

ALL AMERICANS MUST READ THIS BOOK. At least, that is, if they hope to have any understanding of the vision of the Founding Fathers for this country. This is the authoritative work on the subject. It will most likely be a real eye-opener for you. READ IT TODAY. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
I LATE EIGHTEENTHCENTURY RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
19
II EARLY NINETEENTHCENTURY REPUBLICANISM
109
III MIDNINETEENTHCENTURY AMERICANISM
191
IV LATE NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETHCENTURY CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
285
Conclusion
479
Index
493
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Philip Hamburger is Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at the Columbia Law School.

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