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One Nation under Law
America's Early National Struggles to Separate Church and State
Mark Douglas McGarvie
"The most innovative recent study of church-state relations in the early republic."—Journal of the Early Republic
"Unique and valuable... subtle and sophiticated scholarship. For those who specialize in church-state issues in America, this book is essential reading. "—Journal of Church and State
"One of the best scholarly works in years to argue effectively for the separation of church and state as part of the founders''original intent.' McGarvie proves himself in this book to be a superb historian of law and the history of ideas."—The American Journal of Legal History
The United States' commitment to separation of church and state has defined the nation, from the structure of the schools and the welfare system to the nature of American politics and society. Many citizens mistakenly point to the First Amendment, which guarantees the freedom of religious practice, as the origin of this separation. Indeed, the Bill of Rights represents a crucial step toward the division of religious institutions from the affairs of the government. Yet, from the days of the early republic, the separation of church and state came about slowly, amid contentious legal, intellectual, and religious debates.
(2004) 269 pp., notes, biblio., index
Mark Douglas McGarvie, J.D., Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of History and Law at the University of Richmond.
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