Cover image for Separation of church and state
Separation of church and state
Hamburger, Philip, 1957-
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Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiii, 514 pages ; 25 cm
[Pt.] I. Late eighteenth-century religious liberty. Separation, purity, and anticlericalism -- Accusations of separation -- The exclusion of the clergy -- Freedom from religious establishments. [Pt.] II. Early ninteenth-century republicanism. Demands for separation: separating Federalist clergy from Republican politics -- Keeping religion out of politics and making politics religious -- Jefferson and the Baptists: separation proposed and ignored as a constitutional principle. [Pt.] III. Mid-ninteenth-century Americanism. A theologically liberal, anti-Catholic, and American principle -- Separations in society -- Clerical doubts and popular Protestant support -- [Pt.] IV. Late ninteenth- and twentieth-century constitutional law. Amendment -- Interpretation -- Differences -- An American constitutional right.
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BR516 .H19 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In a 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 18th-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.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This volume presents the fascinating and complex history of interpretations of the First Amendment in the US and argues that the amendment's antiestablishment clause did not mandate separation of church and state. Instead, Hamburger (law, Univ. of Chicago) insists that separation, an idea that may mean far more than the absence of establishment, became a constitutional freedom over an extended period of time, largely through fear and prejudice. He claims that the result has been a substantial reduction in religious freedom for Americans. Hamburger's scholarship is impressive; however, although he emphasizes the role of nativists and secularists as advocates of separation, he neglects the equally significant role of Protestant diversity in furthering this reinterpretation. The proliferation of Baptists, Methodists, Disciples of Christ, and Mormons in the antebellum US, none of whom had an establishment history and all of whom felt aggrieved by the old Colonial establishments and their allies, is also a critical part of this narrative of historical development. Although Hamburger grants that the concept of separation may be valuable, he says that it should "not be assumed to have any special legitimacy as an early American and thus constitutional idea." Recommended for general readers and upper-division undergraduates through faculty. S. C. Pearson emeritus, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Table of Contents

I Late Eighteenth-Century Religious Liberty
1 Separation, Purity, and Anticlericalism
2 Accusations of Separation
3 The Exclusion of the Clergy
4 Freedom from Religious Establishments
II Early Nineteenth-Century Republicanism
5 Demands for Separation: Separating Federalist Clergy from Republican Politics
6 Keeping Religion Out of Politics and Making Politics Religious
7 Jefferson and the Baptists: Separation Proposed and Ignored as a Constitutional Principle
III Mid-Nineteenth-Century Americanism
8 A Theologically Liberal, Anti-Catholic, and American Principle
9 Separations in Society
10 Clerical Doubts and Popular Protestant Support IVLate Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Constitutional Law
11 Amendment
12 Interpretation
13 Differences
14 An American Constitutional Right