Faith and the Founders of the American Republic

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 ...

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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 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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199843350
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 709,572
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (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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Table of Contents

Contributors
Introduction - Daniel L. Dreisbach and Mark David Hall

PART I: Religion and Political Culture in the American Founding
Chapter 1 Deism and the Founders - Darren Staloff
Chapter 2 Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos: The Influence of the Reformed Tradition in the American Founding - Mark David Hall
Chapter 3 Jews, Judaism, and the American Founding - David G. Dalin
Chapter 4 The Founders and Islam - Thomas S. Kidd
Chapter 5 Religion and the Loyalists - Robert M. Calhoon and Ruma Chopra
Chapter 6 The Antifederalists and Religion - Donald L. Drakeman
Chapter 7 The Bible in the Political Culture of the American Founding - Daniel L. Dreisbach
Chapter 8 Religion, Race, and the Founders - Jonathan D. Sassi

PART II: Faith and the Founders
Chapter 9 Gouverneur Morris and Theistic Rationalism in the Founding Era - Gregg Frazer
Chapter 10 John Hancock: Congregationalist Revolutionary - Gary Scott Smith
Chapter 11 Elias Boudinot, Presbyterians, and the Quest for a "Righteous Republic" - Jonathan Den Hartog
Chapter 12 The Quaker Contributions of John Dickinson to the Creation of the American Republic - Jane E. Calvert
Chapter 13 Isaac Backus and John Leland: Baptist Contributions to Religious Liberty in the Founding Era - Joe L. Coker

Index

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