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President Jefferson's "wall of separation" metaphor is central to U.S. Supreme Court analysis of First Amendment religious practices and relations between religious institutions and governmental activities. Dreisbach (justice, law, and society, American Univ.) demonstrates the underpinnings and both 19th- and 20th-century interpretations of this pervasive metaphor, which began as a phrase in a letter Jefferson wrote to the Danbury, CT, Baptist Association in 1802. He shows how the "wall" metaphor represents a struggle for religious liberty and in a similar fashion has been used as a component of a strict separation policy between church and state. This historical analysis offers new insight into the foundations of church-state discourse in the United States while also providing documentary underpinnings to Phillip Hamburger's analysis of 17th- to 19th-century religious writings in Separation of Church and State. Almost half of Dreisbach's volume contains extensive appendixes, notes, and a bibliography. This well-constructed book will be useful for academic libraries as an addition to their history and law collections. Steven Puro, St. Louis Univ.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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