Civil Peace and the Quest for Truth

Civil Peace and the Quest for Truth : The First Amendment Freedoms in Political Philosophy and American Constitutionalism

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The freedoms of speech and religion assumed a sacrosanct space in American notions of civil liberty. But it was not until the twentieth century that these freedoms became prominent in American constitutional law; originally, the first ten amendments applied only to the federal government and not to the states. Murray Dry traces the trajectory of freedom of speech and religion to the center of contemporary debates as few scholars have done, by looking back to the American founding and to the classical texts in political philosophy that shaped the founders' understanding of republican government. By comparing the colonial charters with the new state constitutions and studying the development of the federal Constitution, Dry demonstrates the shift from governmental concern for the salvation of souls to the more limited aim of the securing of rights. For a uniquely rich and nuanced appreciation of this shift Dry explores the political philosophy of Locke, Spinoza, Montesquieu, and Mill, among others, whose writings helped shaped the Supreme Court's view of religion as separate from philosophy, as a matter of individual faith and not a community practice.
Delving into the polyvalent interpretations of such fundamental concepts as truth, faith, and freedom, Civil Peace and the Quest for Truth immeasurably advances the study of American constitutional law and our First Amendment rights.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 30.5mm | 589.68g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0739107461
  • 9780739107461

Review quote

The great distinction of this book is that it links three subjects, which are far too often considered separately: constitutional protection for free speech, the religion clauses of the Constitutions, and the teachings of the political philosophers who influenced the Founding Fathers. Professor Dry reveals the deep ties between these subjects, thereby shedding considerable light on modern constitutional doctrine. -- Daniel Farber, University of California, Berkeley This timely book carefully describes the Supreme Court's constitutional doctrines of free speech and religion, and shows how that jurisprudence is derived from the Enlightenment thinkers who influenced the drafters of the American Constitution. Dry's analysis contains many insights on contemporary problems-from school vouchers to flag-burning-that will educate lawyers and non-lawyers alike. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the constitutional protection of speech and religion. -- Suzanna Sherry, Vanderbilt University Law School Civil Peace and the Quest for Truth has many virtues, not least its lucid presentation of an argument assumed by many but made by few. The author's broad reach of argumentation, precise scholarship, clear organization and expression, and confident liberalism promise that the book serves as a valuable introduction and reference for anyone considering the relation of political philosophy to American constitutionalism. -- James R. Stoner, Jr., Louisiana State University
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About Murray Dry

Murray Dry is Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science at Middlebury College.
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Table of contents

1 Part One: Religious Freedom and Freedom of Speech in the American Founding 2 Chapter 1: The American Founding and the Puritan Origins 3 Chapter 2: Religious Freedom and Freedom of Speech in the State Constitutions of the Confederation Period 4 Chapter 3: The Federal Constitution and the Bill of Rights 5 Chapter 4: The Postfounding Debate on Freedom of Speech: The Sedition Act, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, and the Virginia 6 Part Two: The First Amendment Freedoms in Political Philosophy 7 Chapter 5: Ancient Political Philosophy: Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides 8 Chapter 6: Seventeenth Century Political Philosophy: Bacon, Hobbes, Milton, Locke, and Spinoza 9 Chapter 7: Montesquieu's Constitution of Liberty: The Spirit of the Laws 10 Chapter 8: John Stuart Mill's On Liberty 11 Part Three: The Supreme Court's Treatment of Freedom of Speech and Religious Freedom 12 Section A: Freedom of Speech 13 Chapter 9: Seditious Libel and Fifty Years of "Clear and Present Danger": From Schenck to Brandenburg 14 Chapter 10: The Preferred Position Doctrine and the Categorical Approach to Freedom of Speech: Libel 15 Chapter 11: The Increased Protection for "Fighting Words" and other "Offensive Speech," Obscenity, Pornography, and Commercial Speech 16 Chapter 12: Money and Speech and the Public Forum (or Time, Place and Manner) Doctrine 17 Section B 18 Chapter 13: Free Exercise Clause 19 Chapter 14: The Establishment Clause I 20 Chapter 15: The Establishment Clause II
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