Faith and the Founders of the American Republic

Faith and the Founders of the American Republic

by Mark David Hall, Daniel L. Dreisbach
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book does a splendid job of illuminating varieties of American revolutionary and religious experience...." —Journal of American History

"Dreisbach and Hall's volume definitely advances the conversation about religion and the founding through widening the scope of topics considered and acknowledging the complexity of the issue." —Religion in American History

"This book helpfully extends the excellent efforts that its editors have been making for several years to clarify, but also to complicate, historical understanding of religion and the American founding."—Journal of Religion

"This is a unique and very interesting volume. There have been many works on the faith of the American founders, but this one is both notably comprehensive and intriguing. Its contents range from deism to Judaism to Calvinism to Islam, from Loyalists to Baptists, from Quakers to Presbyterians, from John Hancock to John Dickinson, from the Bible to race. Much of this work breaks entirely new ground. Kudos to Daniel Dreisbach, Mark David Hall, and their colleagues for a real contribution to the field and for some fascinating reading." —Paul Kengor, Professor of Political Science, Grove City College

"Faith and the Founders of the American Republic is a collection of essays that rises above the unfounded orthodoxies and retrieves encrusted orthodoxies back into historical analysis... [It] is at the forefront of this historiographical sea change. Things that should not have been forgotten were lost but now have been found. What many had relegated to myth is being returned to history." —British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199843336
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
04/01/2014
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Daniel L. Dreisbach is Professor of Justice, Law and Society at American University.

Mark David Hall is the Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Politics and Faculty Fellow in the William Penn Honors Program at George Fox University.

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