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Multiple Religious Establishments

During the Colonial period most of the American colonies experimented with some type of official religious establishment. Unlike the European model of establishment (which generally consisted of a single state supported church that enjoyed legal protections not given to other religions), however, the colonies usually created systems that benefited several different churches, or that allowed individual towns to determine for themselves what church they would support. These systems are usually refered to as multiple establishments since more than one church could, at least potentially, benefit from government support. See Leonard Levy, The Establishment Clause, chs. 2 and 3.

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