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That Serpentine Wall of Separation

John Witte Jr.

Emory University School of Law

Michigan Law Review, 2003

The wall of separation between church and state has been an abiding metaphor in the history of Western thought, and especially in the history of American law. This essay reviews two important new volumes that trace the evolution, and escalation, of separationist thought in America from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. While heartily commending these two books, this essay calls for a fuller appreciation of the historical antecedents of American separationist thought, a more nuanced account of the multiple understandings of separationism at the American founding, and a greater appreciation for the multiple principles of religious liberty that buttressed and buffered the principle of separation of church and state in the history of American law.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 44

Keywords: Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Establishment Clause, Legal History

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Date posted: September 30, 2003  

Suggested Citation

Witte, John, That Serpentine Wall of Separation. Michigan Law Review, 2003. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=447883 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.447883

Contact Information

John Witte Jr. (Contact Author)
Emory University School of Law ( email )
1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-6980 (Phone)
404-712-8605 (Fax)
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