One Nation under Law

Overview

"Mark McGarvie documents America's transition from Christian communitarianism with its government-sponsored religious institutions to liberal republicanism with its insistence that church and government not interfere with one another. Surprisingly, for a half-century after the ratification of the Constitution, many early state governments continued to support religious organizations. Disestablishment nonetheless proceeded, gaining ever greater momentum as churches lost tax support and found that they could not enforce mandatory attendance laws. ...
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Overview

"Mark McGarvie documents America's transition from Christian communitarianism with its government-sponsored religious institutions to liberal republicanism with its insistence that church and government not interfere with one another. Surprisingly, for a half-century after the ratification of the Constitution, many early state governments continued to support religious organizations. Disestablishment nonetheless proceeded, gaining ever greater momentum as churches lost tax support and found that they could not enforce mandatory attendance laws. No longer public institutions with strong state backing, churches were reconstructed as private, voluntary associations. At the same time, the state took responsibility for poor relief, community record keeping, and a variety of other public services formerly left to the churches." Providing a close-up view of disestablishment as both a legal and an ideological process, McGarvie focuses on the efforts of three key states - New York, South Carolina, and New Hampshire - to disentangle church and state during the early national period. These case studies are particularly enlightening because a single state's disestablishment crisis helped change the law for the entire nation when New Hampshire's attempt to convert Dartmouth College into a secular state institution ended in a suit that eventually reached the Supreme Court. One Nation under Law is an important contribution to an ongoing, distinctly American debate.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875806068
  • Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Toleration versus freedom : colonial society and the state church 21
2 Revolutions in churches and society 32
3 "To form a more perfect union" : the constitutional consideration of religion 47
4 God is as man makes him : ideology and religion in the early republic 67
5 Revolutionary-era disestablishment : the case of New York State 97
6 Southern republicanism and constitutional-era disestablishment : the case of South Carolina 131
7 The Dartmouth College case : New Hampshire's disestablishment crisis makes law for the nation 152
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