Cover image for Thomas Jefferson and the wall of separation between church and state
Thomas Jefferson and the wall of separation between church and state
Dreisbach, Daniel L.
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New York : New York University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 283 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Introduction : the creation of an American metaphor -- The president, a mammoth cheese, and the "wall of separation" : Jeffersonian politics and the New England Baptists -- "Sowing useful truths and principles" : Thomas Jefferson and the Danbury Baptist Association -- "What the wall separates" : a jurisdictional interpretation of the "wall of separation" -- Early references to a "wall of separation" : prefiguring the Jeffersonian metaphor -- Creating "effectual barriers" : alternative metaphors in defense of religious liberty -- "Useful truths and principles ... germinate and become rooted" in the American mind : Jefferson's metaphor enters political and juridical discourse -- Conclusion : the re-creation of church-state law, policy, and discourse.
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E332.2 .D74 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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No phrase in American letters has had a more profound influence on church-state law, policy, and discourse than Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation between church and state," and few metaphors have provoked more passionate debate. Introduced in an 1802 letter to the Danbury, Connecticut Baptist Association, Jefferson's "wall" is accepted by many Americans as a concise description of the U.S. Constitution's church-state arrangement and conceived as a virtual rule of constitutional law.

Despite the enormous influence of the "wall" metaphor, almost no scholarship has investigated the text of the Danbury letter, the context in which it was written, or Jefferson's understanding of his famous phrase. Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State offers an in-depth examination of the origins, controversial uses, and competing interpretations of this powerful metaphor in law and public policy.