Classic Revisited: Stokes’s “Church and State in the United States”

Studies of the constitutional law and history of the religion clauses often seem to be largely a late twentieth century phenomenon (this is not too surprising, since things began to heat up in earnest in the mid-’40s), but there are many notable predecessors.  One of these is Anson Phelps Stokes’s gargantuan effort, Church and State in the United States, first published in 1950 in three volumes.  It contains many historical details that are well worth savoring and which don’t seem to have made it to subsequent treatments (particularly church/state episodes in early America).  The three volumes were later condensed into one volume by the brilliant Leo Pfeffer, with some slightly polemical editing by Pfeffer as well (as committed a 1960s-70s-style separationist as one could find). 

As I could not find an image of the original Stokes volumes, I’ve attached an image of the 1964 Pfeffer abridgement.  But a few years back I looked through Volume I of the original — if you can get your hands on it, it’s well worth it.  — MOD

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