Publication Date

November 2016

Document Type



Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Religion


The early nineteenth century in America was a period in which the idea of religious liberty came to be worked out in practice in a setting of growing diversity. The immediate effect of the dissolution of state religious establishments was to strengthen the vitality and prestige of the churches themselves. Before the end of the century, the church historian Philip Schaff could regard as normal 'a free church in a free state, or a self-supporting and self-governing Christianity in independent but friendly relation to the civil government.'