Connecticut’s Roger Sherman was the only Founder to help draft and sign the Declaration and Resolves (1774), the Articles of Association (1774), the Declaration of American Independence (1776), the Articles of Confederation (1777, 1778), and the U.S. Constitution (1787). As a member of the first federal Congress, he played an influential role in drafting the First Amendment.
Yet when Supreme Court justices have turned to history to interpret the Establishment Clause, they have referenced Sherman only three times. By way of contrast, Thomas Jefferson, a man who played no role in drafting or ratifying the amendment, is referenced 112 times.
Almost every constitutional law scholar—Left, Right, and center—agrees that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence is, to put it kindly, confused. Much of the blame for this mess can be laid at the feet of Everson v. Board of Education, which turns 70 this year.
Possibly no figure out of the American past today enjoys a greater prestige than Roger Williams – and for none is esteem based on so little familiarity with his deeds or so comprehensive an ignorance of his words. – Perry Miller  Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island and champion of religious liberty, is one of those figures in American history the biographies of whom almost always reveal more about the biographer or the times in which they were written than about the subject. An enigmatic character, Williams’s biographers have tended to treat him as if he were of a…