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Toward An Understanding Of The Separation Of Church And State In The United States

Posted on:2009-05-16Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:M WuFull Text:PDF
GTID:2166360272462948Subject:English Language and Literature
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has established two fundamental principles that are respectively embodied in the establishment clause and the free-exercise clause: the principle of separation between church and state and the principle of freedom of religion. These two principles which impose restrictions both on the authority of church and state are generally acknowledged as a guide for handling the church-state relationship. Apart from the Great Awakening which paved the way for the separation of church from state, the American doctrine of separation was mainly the product of Protestantism, Lockean deism and rationalism. Additionally, there were other practical factors which contributed to the adoption of separating church from state as the fundamental principle of American Constitution. However, in reality such a separation is far from complete. For one thing, church and state are bound to be interdependent because both institutions draw on the same human resources. For another, religion plays such a significant role throughout American history that it is impractical for government to ignore religious concerns in its political actions. This paper intends to explore, in an all-round way, the most important principle—separation between church and state—that governs the American church-state relations. Along the line, a case study is provided to illustrate that church and state interacted despite the principle of separation laid down by the U.S. Constitution. The thesis argues that American pattern of separation of church and state is mainly institutional separation. In reality, the state may employ certain means to interfere in religious affairs and reversely the church may also exert indirect influence on the political actions of the state.
Keywords/Search Tags:the United States, constitution, separation of church and state, religion The First Amendment
PDF Full Text Request
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