Proclaim Liberty throughout All the Land: A History of Church and State in America

Overview

Should prayer be allowed in public schools? Should biology be taught according to Darwin or to the book of Genesis? Why is polygamy against the law? These are just a few of the questions that touch our lives directly and emerge out of the separation of church and state. In this volume, one of the most distinguished scholars of American religious history traces the complicated relationship of church and state from the early colonial period, through the unique American experiment in religious liberty after the ...

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Overview

Should prayer be allowed in public schools? Should biology be taught according to Darwin or to the book of Genesis? Why is polygamy against the law? These are just a few of the questions that touch our lives directly and emerge out of the separation of church and state. In this volume, one of the most distinguished scholars of American religious history traces the complicated relationship of church and state from the early colonial period, through the unique American experiment in religious liberty after the Revolution, to the ongoing debate over religious issues in our schools and communities. Edwin Gaustad relates entertaining and edifying accounts of headline-grabbing court trials involving polygamy, witchcraft, and church taxation. He quotes moving passages from the speeches and writings of American Presidents and Supreme Court justices to prove that, to paraphrase Michelangelo, "religious liberty is made up of a series of trifles, but religious liberty is no trifle."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In a balanced account, Gaustad... treats the (often contentious) role of religion in Colonial America and examines the significant Supreme Court cases that have helped define the place of religion with regard to the state.... Serious treatment of the subject at hand in a way that makes [it] attractive for popular reading by combining text, photographs and original documents."—Library Journal

"Some of the stickiest, most hotly argued questions in American politics get full coverage in this historical account... While using colorful, evocative language to describe the conflicts, [Gaustad] succeeds admirably in maintaining a fair, objective viewpoint. He presents the issues clearly, without distracting details, in a lively style that is thoroughly consistent with the topic. The book's design includes plenty of white space for readability, and the numerous black-and-white photos have informative captions."—School Library Journal

"Every public school library in America needs this book. No church or synagogue library can be considered complete without it. It should be on law school curricula... Every pastor who gives a hoot... should read it, recommend it. Every teacher who is unwilling to be left at the mercy of 'dumbed down'...textbooks can assert a little independence by reading it."—Report from the Capitol

"Ought to be required reading for those on both sides of the First Amendment divide.... Virtually all the important church-state cases are covered in this volume."—The Wall Street Journal

"Essential reading in light of modern debates over subjects like prayer in public schools, teaching the Genesis story, and other more complicated issues related to religion and state....Gaustad deftly uses stroeis, speeches, anecdotes, and historic documents to prove that, as Michelangelo once said, "religious liberty is made up of a series of trifles, but religious liberty is no trifle."—Reformation & Revival

"Should be required reading for all Americans before attempting any intelligent discussion of church-state issues....Though written by a distinguished historian/scholar, the reading style is very straightforward. Very organized and intentionally directed, Gaustad provides just enough detail without being too weighty." — Baptists Today

"The writing is well-suited for undergraduates and advanced high school students, with a straightforward chronological format and clear explanations of all but the most basic terms. Gaustad's special attention to issues of religion in the schools makes the book even more suitable for classroom use, as does his inclusion of primary texts." — Catholic Library World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195166873
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Series: Religion in American Life Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 786,859
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

University of California, Riverside
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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Ch. 1 The Colonies: Europe in America 1
Ch. 2 A New Nation: The American Experiment 16
Ch. 3 The Nineteenth Century: A Quiet Court 33
Ch. 4 The Twentieth Century and Beyond: A Busy Court 50
Ch. 5 The Establishment Clause: Public Schools 73
Ch. 6 The Establishment Clause: Private Schools 93
Ch. 7 The Free Exercise Clause: Religious Liberty 113
Ch. 8 Epilogue: The Supreme Court and the Road Ahead 135
Chronology 144
Further Reading 149
Index 152
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