History of Harshly Antagonistic U.S. Public Discussion

face of a prisoner

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares rights to freedom of press and freedom of religion. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, persons exercised these freedoms with considerable religious animosity. The most frequently used book in public schools in eighteenth-century New England, the New England Primer, included a warning to children:

Abhor that arrant whore of ROME
and all her blasphemies,
And drink not of her cursed cup,
obey not her decrees.

Public schools in the U.S. today are less likely to foster religious competition and more likely to celebrate diversity. Students are perhaps also less likely to learn how to read.

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