Published on November 21, 2019 by Sean Flynt  
Den Hartog Book
Disestablishment and Religious Dissent: Church-State Relations in the New American States, 1776-1833

Samford History Department chair Jonathan Den Hartog and University of Missouri law professor Carl Esbeck are the editors of a new book that addresses the myths, half-truths and errors surrounding popular notions of American church-state relations. The book is expected to serve as a key reference for understanding the varied process of disestablishment, a singular American contribution to the theory of governing.

Disestablishment and Religious Dissent: Church-State Relations in the New American States, 1776-1833 offers 21 essays by historians and legal scholars that detail disestablishment in the original 13 states, as well as other early states like Vermont and Kentucky, and three Catholic disestablishments, including Louisiana and Florida. The essays document church disestablishment as it proceeded state by state in many different ways, with American Baptists playing a key role as they sought to defend “soul liberty” from governmental coercion.

The book, published by University of Missouri Press, is part of the Studies in Constitutional Democracy series, in partnership with the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.