My thesis is a rhetorical exploration of the historical and contemporary struggle in America regarding the relationship between government and religion in the public square. It begins in the nation's infancy with the first settlers, who, realizing that as Christians they were a religious majority, and no longer a persecuted minority. They then decided that being in control of religion and government was not such a bad thing after all. Ultimately, they reversed their thinking and became staunch advocates of a confluence between Christian religion and government.
Other early patriots, who had witnessed the atrocities of such an entanglement on the European continent, became staunch advocates of a separation between the role of church and the role of government. The latter, today commonly called the Founders, were charged with the task of determining how to approach the colonies' newly found independence, the development of a system of government, and the nature of the governing documents. These leaders were resolute that religious persecutions of any kind, especially those carried out by government officials, would not be the defining characteristic of American society. This is the story of the rhetoric of that struggle and the subsequent Constitutional provisions for protection of freedom of religion and freedom from religion, both then and now.
|Advisor:||Cox, Earnest L.|
|Commitee:||Crisp, Sally C., Harris, Cheryl L.|
|School:||University of Arkansas at Little Rock|
|Department:||Rhetoric and Writing|
|School Location:||United States -- Arkansas|
|Source:||MAI 52/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Religious history, American history, Political science|
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