Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dale J. Schmitt

Committee Members

Elwood D. Watson, William Douglas Burgess Jr.


The evolution of America's religious liberty was birthed by a separate church and state. As America strides into the twenty first century the origin of separation of church and state continues to be a heated topic of debate. Conservatives argue that America's version of separation of church and state was birthed by principles of Christian liberty. Liberals reject this idea maintaining that the evolution of a separate church and state in America was based on enlightened thinking that demanded rational men should have religious liberty. The best way to achieve this was by erecting a wall of separation between church and state.

Sources used in this study include The Letters of Roger Williams, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and the Diary of Isaac Backus, along with many other primary and secondary sources. This study concludes that America’s religious freedom, conceptualized in its separate church and state is a creation of both reason and religion.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.