The First Amendment
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The First Amendment to the Constitution allows us to believe and say what we want. But rights and the rule of law are fragile things, and the history, philosophy, argument and wrangling that it took to get to the First Amendment is a fascinating journey. From the classical period to Martin Luther to colonial America, this book investigates the background and evolution of the speech and religion clauses originally interdependent, but now separated in the Amendment’s modern interpretation. Robert McWhirter employs a witty, light touch that manages to relate the arguments around the Amendment to its interpretation in popular culture and belies the deep scholarship and research that underpins the work.
This lively account is written for the interested citizen, as well as the civics student, and there are surprising, and interesting, discursions into the way the events and personalities surrounding the First Amendment have appeared in literature, film, sports and popular culture.
The book is part of a collection chronicling the origins, history, and interpretation, of the first ten Amendments to the Constitution – the Bill of Rights.
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About the Author
Robert McWhirter is an acknowledged authority on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights on which he has written and lectured widely both to academic and legal audiences as well as civic institutions. His earlier work was published by the American Bar Association. He appears regularly on Arizona Public Television’s Horizon program explaining the legality and history surrounding the challenges to, and interpretation of, the Constitution.
Robert also specializes in criminal law on which he has published widely. He presently practices as a criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona.
Table of Contents
Jesus and the First Amendment; Christians and Lions; Separating Church and State in The City of God; When the Church was the State; Magna Carta and Freedom of Religion; Martin Luther and John Calvin; Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More; Religion and Speech in Puritan America; Libel Law in Colonial America; John Peter Zenger’s trial and the Freedom of the Press; A Christian Nation?; The ‘Wall’ Separating Church and State; The First Amendment as Your Personal Savior