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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Constitutional Principle: Separation Church & state (USA)

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Table of Contents

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

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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