Chapter

Defining and Testing the Prohibition on Religious Establishments in the Early Republic

Daniel L. Dreisbach

in No Establishment of Religion

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860371
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199950164 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860371.003.0009
Defining and Testing the Prohibition on Religious Establishments in the Early Republic

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This chapter argues that the meanings of the Establishment Clause and the Religious Test Clause were not entirely clear at the time that the Constitution and Bill of Rights were adopted, and the meanings were debated in the immediately following years. Most of the founders believed that religion was an important support for society. Some believed that the state should play a role in nurturing and supporting religious institutions (without necessarily favoring religious establishments) while others believed that religious freedom could best be promoted by the separation of church and state (while denying that they were hostile to religion). The debates arose in the context of issues such as the presidential election of 1800, Sunday delivery of mail, and religious proclamations.

Keywords: Establishment Clause; Religious Test Clause; Sunday mail controversy; Election of 1800

Chapter.  13608 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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