The Rise of Religious Liberty in America: A History

The Rise of Religious Liberty in America: A History

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The Rise of Religious Liberty in America: A History

The Rise of Religious Liberty in America: A History

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Though the title of this work suggests a topic having a religious aspect, yet the book itself offers no history of the churches or of religion in America. That field is well occupied by such works as those of Baird, Dorchester, Bacon, and others, and by denominational histories. The aim of the present work is political rather than religious. It attempts a systematic narrative--so far as the author is aware, not hitherto published--of that historical development through which the civil law in America came at last, after much struggle, to the decree of entire liberty of conscience and of worship. It is thus purely historical, and confines itself rigidly to those incidents in colonial history which are closely related to this special theme. The purpose is to exhibit in proper historical sequence those influences and events which guided the American republics to their unique solution of the world-old problem of Church and State--a solution so unique, so far-reaching, and so markedly diverse from European principles as to constitute the most striking contribution of America to the science of government.

With such aim and for the double purpose of correcting certain popular misconceptions and of placing plainly before the mind the complete goal of this historical progress, it has seemed desirable to define in the first chapter the elements of a pure religious liberty, as that principle has embedded itself in the American mind and law. Besides, in order that this principle and its development might be shown in true historical relations, it seemed further needful to describe in the second chapter, so briefly as possible, the . . .

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