Disestablishment and Religious Dissent

Church-State Relations in the New American States, 1776-1833

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Carl H. Esbeck, Jonathan J. Den Hartog
  • Columbia, MO: 
    University of Missouri Press
    , November
     460 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Daniel Roeber forthcoming.


On May 10, 1776, the Second Continental Congress sitting in Philadelphia adopted a Resolution which set in motion a round of constitution making in the colonies, several of which soon declared themselves sovereign states and severed all remaining ties to the British Crown. In forming these written constitutions, the delegates to the state conventions were forced to address the issue of church-state relations. Each colony had unique and differing traditions of church-state relations rooted in the colony's peoples, their country of origin, and religion. This definitive volume, comprising twenty-one original essays by eminent historians and political scientists, is a comprehensive state-by-state account of disestablishment in the original thirteen states, as well as a look at similar events in the soon-to-be-admitted states of Vermont, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Also considered are disestablishment in Ohio (the first state admitted from the Northwest Territory), Louisiana and Missouri (the first states admitted from the Louisiana Purchase), and Florida (wrestled from Spain under U.S. pressure). The volume makes a unique scholarly contribution by recounting in detail the process of disestablishment in each of the colonies, as well as religion's constitutional and legal place in the new states of the federal republic.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Carl H. Esbeck is Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Missouri School of Law in Columbia, Missouri.

Jonathan J. Den Hartog is Chair of the History Department and Professor of History at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.


Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.