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Products for grant FZ-231436-15

FZ-231436-15
The Unexpected Origins of Modern Religious Liberty
Linda Przybyszewski, University of Notre Dame

Grant details: https://apps.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FZ-231436-15

Competing Constitutional Traditions on Church and State: The Northwest Ordinance and the Cincinnati Bible War (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Competing Constitutional Traditions on Church and State: The Northwest Ordinance and the Cincinnati Bible War
Author: Linda Przybyszewski
Abstract: In the fall of 1869, two teams of lawyers squared off over whether the Cincinnati school board had the power to end a thirty-year tradition: Bible reading at the start of the school day. The battle became a national controversy in which the press across the country took sides. Throughout the Bible War, as it came to be called, supporters of the Bible in the schools pointed to clause in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, repeated in the Ohio Constitutions of 1802 and 1851: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” This powerful idea—that schools, religion, and the state rise and fall together—drew directly on the traditions of New England from where the men of the Ohio Company of Associates came. They asked the federal government to donate a section of land in each township for the support of schools and another for the support of a minister—a request that astonished and annoyed James Madison of Virginia. Yet the Ohio Company succeeded in gaining both provisions from the US Treasury. The early advocates of public schools in Ohio overwhelmingly pious Protestant and often ministers also shared in this idea. The story of the Northwest Ordinance and its legacy shows us how Americans first argued over religion’s place in the Republic, how rival church-state traditions lived on in new states, and then shaped the rise of new state institutions.
Date: 09/15/2016
Conference Name: Rights and Wrongs: A Constitutional Day Conference at San Francisco State University

Fighting the Philistines: Bishop John Purcell, The Catholic Disruption, and the Making of Memory (Article)
Title: Fighting the Philistines: Bishop John Purcell, The Catholic Disruption, and the Making of Memory
Author: Linda Przybyszewski
Abstract: When the Cincinnati school board voted to end Bible reading in the schools in 1869, the national dispute and lawsuit that followed came to be called the Bible War, yet the opening salvos of the war began in the 1830s. The Western Literary Institute and College of Professional Teachers championed the public-school movement in the West in Cincinnati from 1831 to 1840. Catholic Bishop John Baptist Purcell disrupted its Protestant hegemony. While struggles in New York City and Philadelphia in the 1840s overshadow Cincinnati historiographically, College meetings set the pattern for later sectarian disputes over education in the Old Northwest. Protestant belief in the priestly monopoly over the Bible and in Catholicism as a threat to civil and religious liberty and education undermined the legitimacy of Catholic challenges to Protestant Bibles in the schools. These sectarian beliefs drew on, and became part of, a mythic history already existent and still on display during the Bible War when Rev. Benjamin P. Aydelott recounted his College meeting dispute with Purcell as dramatic struggle over the fate of the nation. Sectarian myth made the Protestant Bible essential to American educational progress in popular and legal memory.
Year: 2019
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: US Catholic Historian
Publisher: U.S Catholic Historian

Religious Liberty Sacralized: The Persistence of Christian Dissenting Tradition and the Cincinnati Bible War (Article)
Title: Religious Liberty Sacralized: The Persistence of Christian Dissenting Tradition and the Cincinnati Bible War
Author: Linda Przybyszewski
Abstract: In 1869, the Cincinnati school board ended a forty-year tradition of Bible reading in the schools in an attempt to encourage Catholics to use them, thus provoking national controversy and a lawsuit brought by pro-Bible advocates. Scholars regularly cite the Ohio Supreme Court decision in favor of the school board as a landmark in the legal separation of church and state. This article interrogates the meaning of the secularization of law by examining expressions of juristic, pedagogic, and popular consciousness in the multiple levels and spaces where individuals raised and resolved constitutional questions on education. Dissenting Christian tradition shaped the legal brief of Stanley Matthews, the school board's lead attorney. Matthews' sacralized the religious liberty guarantee found in the Ohio Constitution within a post-millennialist framework. Ohio Chief Justice John Welch hybridized Christian dissenting tradition with deistic rationalism in Board of Education v. Minor, et al, thus appealing to as broad a constituency as had the right to elect justices to the Ohio Supreme Court. The limited, technical ruling allowed for a metropole/periphery divide in educational practice, so that Bible reading and prayer in Ohio public schools continued well into the 20th century. Far from a landmark in secularization of the law, the Bible War case demonstrates the persistent power of religion to frame law, including the law of religious liberty.
Year: 2021
Access Model: subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Law and History Review
Publisher: Law and History Review

Scarlet Fever, Stanley Matthews, and the Cincinnati Bible War (Article)
Title: Scarlet Fever, Stanley Matthews, and the Cincinnati Bible War
Author: Linda Przybyszewski
Abstract: In November of 1869, two teams of lawyers squared off to argue whether or not the Cincinnati school board had the power to end a forty-year-old practice: starting the school day with a reading from the Bible and the singing of hymns. When the board voted to end the practice despite the protests, a lawsuit was quickly filed. During the oral arguments Stanley Matthews made a point of putting on display both his faith in God and his belief in the Bible as God’s revealed Word in order to arguing that Bible reading must stop because only a mortal who accepted Jesus Christ freely could be saved. Matthews himself had experienced a dramatic religious conversion after the tragic deaths of four of his children in 1859 drove him to the brink of insanity. Instead, he embraced conservative Presbyterianism and the duty to evangelize as he did from the courtroom floor. His argument played a crucial role in winning the case when it was appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, and probably explains why he remained a respectable enough man from the religious point of view to make his way to the Senate and the Supreme Court.
Year: 2017
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of Supreme Court History
Publisher: Journal of Supreme Court History


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