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The Founding Fathers And The Debate Over Religion In Revolutionary America

Author: Matthew Harris
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0195326490
Size: 70.89 MB
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Whether America was founded as a Christian nation or as a secular republic is one of the most fiercely debated questions in American history. Historians Matthew Harris and Thomas Kidd offer an authoritative examination of the essential documents needed to understand this debate. The texts included in this volume - writings and speeches from both well-known and obscure early American thinkers - show that religion played a prominent yet fractious role in the era of the American Revolution. In their personal beliefs, the Founders ranged from profound skeptics like Thomas Paine to traditional Christians like Patrick Henry. Nevertheless, most of the Founding Fathers rallied around certain crucial religious principles, including the idea that people were "created" equal, the belief that religious freedom required the disestablishment of state-backed denominations, the necessity of virtue in a republic, and the role of Providence in guiding the affairs of nations. Harris and Kidd show that through the struggles of war and the framing of the Constitution, Americans sought to reconcile their dedication to religious vitality with their commitment to religious freedom.

Faith And The Founders Of The American Republic

Author: Daniel L. Dreisbach
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199843341
Size: 10.38 MB
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The role of religion in the founding of America has long been a hotly debated question. Some historians have regarded the views of a few famous founders, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Thomas Paine, as evidence that the founders were deists who advocated the strict separation of church and state. Popular Christian polemicists, on the other hand, have attempted to show that virtually all of the founders were pious Christians in favor of public support for religion. As the essays in this volume demonstrate, a diverse array of religious traditions informed the political culture of the American founding. Faith and the Founders of the American Republic includes studies both of minority faiths, such as Islam and Judaism, and of major traditions like Calvinism. It also includes nuanced analysis of specific founders-Quaker fellow-traveler John Dickinson, prominent Baptists Isaac Backus and John Leland, and Theistic Rationalist Gouverneur Morris, among others-with attention to their personal histories, faiths, constitutional philosophies, and views on the relationship between religion and the state. This volume will be a crucial resource for anyone interested in the place of faith in the founding of the American constitutional republic, from political, religious, historical, and legal perspectives.

New Directions In American Religious History

Author: Harry S. Stout
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198027201
Size: 18.24 MB
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The eighteen essays collected in this book originate from a conference of the same title, held at the Wingspread Conference Center in October of 1993. Leading scholars were invited to reflect on their specialties in American religious history in ways that summarized both where the field is and where it ought to move in the decades to come. The essays are organized according to four general themes: places and regions, universal themes, transformative events, and marginal groups and ethnocultural "outsiders." They address a wide range of specific topics including Puritanism, Protestantism and economic behavior, gender and sexuality in American Protestantism, and the twentieth-century de-Christianization of American public culture. Among the contributors are such distinguished scholars as David D. Hall, Donald G. Matthews, Allen C. Guelzo, Gordon S. Wood, Daniel Walker Howe, Robert Wuthnow, Jon Butler, David A. Hollinger, Harry S. Stout, and John Higham. Taken together, these essays reveal a rapidly expanding field of study that is breaking out of its traditional confines and spilling into all of American history. The book takes the measure of the changes of the last quarter-century and charts numerous challenges to future work.

One Nation Under God

Author: John D. Wilsey
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
ISBN: 1630876321
Size: 26.71 MB
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Is America a Christian nation? This question has loomed large in American culture since the Puritans arrived on American shores in the early seventeenth century. More recently, the Christian America thesis has been advocated by many evangelical leaders across the denominational spectrum. This book contributes to the conversation by critiquing, from an evangelical perspective, the idea that America is a Christian nation as articulated by specific writers over the past three decades. Wilsey asserts that the United States was not conceived as a Christian nation, but as a nation with religious liberty. Herein lies the genius of the Founders and the uniqueness of America.

American Gospel

Author: Jon Meacham
Publisher: Random House Incorporated
ISBN: 0812976665
Size: 14.80 MB
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The best-selling author of Franklin and Winston offers an incisive historical portrait of religion and politics in America, from the colonial period to the present day, and cites the need for contemporary society to embrace the principles of the Founding Fathers. Reprint. 100,000 first printing.

The Oxford Handbook Of Church And State In The United States

Author: Derek H. Davis
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190208783
Size: 39.48 MB
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Study of church and state in the United States is incredibly complex. Scholars working in this area have backgrounds in law, religious studies, history, theology, and politics, among other fields. Historically, they have focused on particular angles or dimensions of the church-state relationship, because the field is so vast. The results have mostly been monographs that focus only on narrow cross-sections of the field, and the few works that do aim to give larger perspectives are reference works of factual compendia, which offer little or no analysis. The Oxford Handbook of Church and State in the United States fills this gap, presenting an extensive, multidimensional overview of the field. Twenty-one essays offer a scholarly look at the intricacies and past and current debates that frame the American system of church and state, within five main areas: history, law, theology/philosophy, politics, and sociology. These essays provide factual accounts, but also address issues, problems, debates, controversies, and, where appropriate, suggest resolutions. They also offer analysis of the range of interpretations of the subject offered by various American scholars. This Handbook is an invaluable resource for the study of church-state relations in the United States.

Gothic Arches Latin Crosses

Author: Ryan K. Smith
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 080787728X
Size: 52.66 MB
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Crosses, candles, choir vestments, sanctuary flowers, and stained glass are common church features found in nearly all mainline denominations of American Christianity today. Most Protestant churchgoers would be surprised to learn, however, that at one time these elements were viewed with suspicion as foreign implements associated strictly with the Roman Catholic Church. Blending history with the study of material culture, Ryan K. Smith sheds light on the ironic convergence of anti-Catholicism and the Gothic Revival movement in nineteenth-century America. Smith finds the source for both movements in the sudden rise of Roman Catholicism after 1820, when it began to grow from a tiny minority into the country's largest single religious body. Its growth triggered a corresponding rise in anti-Catholic activities, as activists representing every major Protestant denomination attacked "popery" through the pulpit, the press, and politics. At the same time, Catholic worship increasingly attracted young, genteel observers around the country. Its art and its tangible access to the sacred meshed well with the era's romanticism and market-based materialism. Smith argues that these tensions led Protestant churches to break with tradition and adopt recognizably Latin art. He shows how architectural and artistic features became tools through which Protestants adapted to America's new commercialization while simultaneously defusing the potent Catholic "threat." The results presented a colorful new religious landscape, but they also illustrated the durability of traditional religious boundaries.

American Gospel

Author: Jon Meacham
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781588365774
Size: 78.53 MB
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham reveals how the Founding Fathers viewed faith—and how they ultimately created a nation in which belief in God is a matter of choice. At a time when our country seems divided by extremism, American Gospel draws on the past to offer a new perspective. Meacham re-creates the fascinating history of a nation grappling with religion and politics–from John Winthrop’s “city on a hill” sermon to Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence; from the Revolution to the Civil War; from a proposed nineteenth-century Christian Amendment to the Constitution to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call for civil rights; from George Washington to Ronald Reagan. Debates about religion and politics are often more divisive than illuminating. Secularists point to a “wall of separation between church and state,” while many conservatives act as though the Founding Fathers were apostles in knee britches. As Meacham shows in this brisk narrative, neither extreme has it right. At the heart of the American experiment lies the God of what Benjamin Franklin called “public religion,” a God who invests all human beings with inalienable rights while protecting private religion from government interference. It is a great American balancing act, and it has served us well. Meacham has written and spoken extensively about religion and politics, and he brings historical authority and a sense of hope to the issue. American Gospel makes it compellingly clear that the nation’s best chance of summoning what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature” lies in recovering the spirit and sense of the Founding. In looking back, we may find the light to lead us forward. Praise for American Gospel “In his American Gospel, Jon Meacham provides a refreshingly clear, balanced, and wise historical portrait of religion and American politics at exactly the moment when such fairness and understanding are much needed. Anyone who doubts the relevance of history to our own time has only to read this exceptional book.”—David McCullough, author of 1776 “Jon Meacham has given us an insightful and eloquent account of the spiritual foundation of the early days of the American republic. It is especially instructive reading at a time when the nation is at once engaged in and deeply divided on the question of religion and its place in public life.”—Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation