100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Steven Engel and Lawrence Roth

Steven Engel and Lawrence Roth

School Prayer

“The Supreme Court has Held that God is Unconstitutional”

Engel v. Vitale

370 U.S. 421 (1962)

Religious practices have suffused American education since the days of the Puritans in the seventeenth century. Such transparently Christian (invariably Protestant) exercises included using the King James version of the Bible to teach literacy and instill moral precepts, reciting the Lord's Prayer, and conducting worship services on public school property. Knowing they were in the minority, dissenters made few complaints.

When a nation is under duress, as it is in wartime, many people find strength and comfort in their religion, and the long years of the cold war were no exception. Americans sought refuge in organized religion to fight atheistic communism abroad and ...

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