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Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940) was a U.S. Supreme Court case involving door-to-door religious solicitations. In a dispute that would have a major impact on the role of religion in public education, the Court held that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, rendering the states subject to the same restrictions regarding religion that are placed on Congress.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs, Newton, Jesse, and Russell Cantwell, were Jehovah's Witnesses who were arrested in Connecticut for violating a state statute that required that religious solicitors register with the secretary of the public welfare council. The Cantwells were arrested as they were going door to door with religious pamphlets, records, and a record player. Each record contained a ...

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