The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State
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Table of Contents

" . . . You can't understand a phrase such as "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" by syllogistic reasoning. Words take their meaning from social as well as textual contexts, which is why "a page of history is worth a volume of logic." New York Trust Co. v. Eisner, 256 U.S. 345, 349 (1921) (Holmes, J.). . . . "
SOURCE: Sherman v. Community Consol. Dist. 21, 980 F.2d 437, 445 (7th Cir. 1992)
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New (April 13, 2015)

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Constitutional Principle: Separation Church & state (USA)

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Re-publication of Tom Peters' Separation of Church and State Home Page
Links to audio recordings of Supreme Court arguments, speeches, etc.

Table of Contents

Links to Primary Documents of the United States including the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and others

Current Events

Study Guides

The Historical Evidence

The Founding Period: 1774-1791


An Overview from 1774 to early 1800's

The Declaration of Independence (1776)

"Founding" Documents and Religion (1776-1791)


State Constitutions

The sections of the state constitutions dealing with religion have been excerpted on the following pages:

The Original Thirteen States:

The Additional States

Warnings and other comments by a variety of men of the founding period and after(1780 -1833, 1992, 1999)

The Northwest Ordinance

Constitutional Convention and Ratification Period (1787-1788)

The First Federal Congress


The Post-Founding Period: 1790-1800

The Post-Founding Period: 1800 -1840

The Post-Founding Period: 1840 -1860

Post Civil War Period: 1863-1880

Post-Civil War attempts to incorporate religious language into the Constitution

The Second Wave Attempts to Amend the Constitution -- 1880 - 1910

Sixty-four religious measures introduced in Congress -- 1888 - 1910

Congress and the people 1800 to Present

  • A Memorial to Congress, January 29, 1908
  • The Post Founding Period - Tracing the Rise of Theocracy

    Historical Documents

    Issue Related Historical Data

    The Legal Heritage

    The Declaration of Independence

    Annotations of First Amendment Cases Decided by the Supreme Court of the United States

    Case Excerpts from The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation: Annotations of Cases Decided by the Supreme Court of the United States as prepared by the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress

    Important Establishment Clause Cases decided by the U. S. Supreme Court

    Government Sponsored Prayer

    Direct Aid: Vouchers

    Creationism v. Evolution

    Evolution of the Principle

    General Discussions

    Politics of History

    Politics of the Media

    Politics of Law and the Courts-Past and Present

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