First Amendment

A Wall of Separation - Everson v. Board of Education (1947)

Prior to the 14th Amendment, the protections offered by the Bill of Rights applied primarily to the Federal Government. While most States had similar protections in their own constitutions, these were inconsistent and locally interpreted.

The 14th Amendment changed all of that in ways neither immediate nor obvious. Passed in 1868 as part of the ‘Reconstruction Amendments,’ its initial intent was to guarantee full and equal citizenship for Freedmen – newly freed Black Americans.

It reads, in part:

Building A Wall of Separation (Faith & School)

The U.S. Constitution was written as a replacement for the Articles of Confederation – our first effort at writing a broad set of laws by which to govern the nation. The Articles had guaranteed the States almost complete sovereignty and absolute independence from one another – a great idea in theory, but not as workable as one might hope in practice.