This provocative book shows how the United States Supreme Court has used constitutional history in church-state cases. Donald L. Drakeman describes the ways in which the justices have portrayed the framers' actions in a light favoring their own views about how church and state should be separated. He then marshals the historical evidence, leading to a surprising conclusion about the original meaning of the First Amendment's establishment clause: the framers originally intended the establishment clause only as a prohibition against a single national church. In showing how conventional interpretations have gone astray, he casts light on the close relationship between religion and government in America and brings to life a fascinating parade of church-state constitutional controversies from the founding era to the present.

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