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Constitutional Rights and Ascertaining Their Original Meaning

  • Ellis M. West
Chapter

Abstract

There is a difference between the free exercise of religion as a fact (being free from any constraint or restraint on what a person wants to do), a moral right (being free from unnecessary or illegitimate constraints or restraints), and a constitutional right (being free from laws unauthorized or prohibited by a constitution), and only the last of these is explained in the book. The original meaning of religious freedom as a constitutional right can be ascertained by examining how the religion clauses were explained by those early Americans who advocated, drafted, and discussed them, even though they did not always practice what they preached.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellis M. West
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of RichmondRichmondUSA

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