The provocative and authoritative history of the origins of Christian America in the New Deal era
We're often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the belief that America is fundamentally and formally Christian originated in the 1930s.
To fight the "slavery" of FDR's New Deal, businessmen enlisted religious activists in a campaign for "freedom under God" that culminated in the election of their ally Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. The new president revolutionized the role of religion in American politics. He inaugurated new traditions like the National Prayer Breakfast, as Congress added the phrase "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance and made "In God We Trust" the country's first official motto. Church membership soon soared to an all-time high of 69 percent. Americans across the religious and political spectrum agreed that their country was "one nation under God."
Provocative and authoritative, One Nation Under God reveals how an unholy alliance of money, religion, and politics created a false origin story that continues to define and divide American politics to this day.
|Edition description:||First Trade Paper Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Kevin M. Kruse is a professor of history at Princeton University and the author or coeditor of five books, including Fault Lines and the award-winning White Flight. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
Table of Contents
Part I: Creation
1. “Freedom Under God”
2. The Great Crusades: Prayer and Politics in Postwar America
Part II: Consecration
3. “Government Under God”
4. Pledging Allegiance
5. Pitchmen for Piety
Part III: Conflict
6. "Whose Religious Tradition?"
7. “Our So-Called Religious Leaders"
8. “Which Side Are You On?"
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great insight into corporate America.
This book tells the history of how corporate America have tried to undo New Deal reforms since the 1940s by creating a new free-enterprise religion, and to erode the separation of church and state. Corporate America’s creation of a free-enterprise selfish Jesus began in 1935 with the founding of an organization called Spiritual Mobilization. Some of the corporations who donated money to this and similar organizations include: American Cyanamid and chemical corporation, Associated Refineries, AT&T, Bechtel Corporation, Caterpillar Tractor Company, Chevrolet, Chicago & Southern Airline, Chrysler corporation, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Deering-Milliken, Detroit Edison, Disney, DuPont, Eastern Airlines, General Electric, General Foods, General Motors, Goodwill, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, IBM, J. C. Penney, J. Walter Thompson, Mark A. Hanna, Marriott, Marshall Field, Monsanto Chemical Company, National Association of Manufacturers, Pacific Mutual Life Insurance, Paramount Pictures, PepsiCo, Precision Valve Corp, Quaker Oats, Republic Steel Corp, Richfield Oil Co., San Diego Gas & Electric, Schick Safety Razor, Standard Oil Company, Sun Oil company, Sun shipbuilding company, Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation, United Airlines, US Rubber company, US steel corporation, Utah Power & Light, Warner Bros. Pictures, Weyerhauser. In the 1930s, corporations were well known to have brought on the Great Depression with their tremendous greed and dishonesty. The New Deal reformed the financial system, distributed wealth more evenly, provided a social safety net, protected the people by regulating businesses to protect them from unsafe and unhealthy food, drugs, and other products, toxic pollution, aided farmers in slowing soil erosion to prevent more dust bowls (and feed Americans for hundreds of years-- good topsoil is America’s most important treasure), and other public services that benefited everyone. The New Deal embodied the ideals of the Social Gospel, a movement dedicated to the public good, economic equality, eradication of poverty, slums, child labor, an unclean environment, inadequate labor unions, poor schools, and war (Wiki Social Gospel). Corporate America fought against these reforms and has been trying to undo the New Deal ever since then. One of their most successful tactics was getting religious leaders to spout a new version of Jesus – a free-enterprise, Ayn Rand, selfish Jesus and eradicate the Social Gospel Jesus of the New Deal. At first ministers and people saw through since this propaganda was obviously craven corporate self-interest. So the propaganda was crafted more subtly, and sold to conservative religious leaders. Congregations then listened to sermons about the free-enterprise Jesus with open hearts and minds, which they would have laughed at if the speaker were a CEO. The new religion taught them to hate unions, social welfare, to fear and hate government, to be against abortion and birth control (mainly because the more people there are, the less industries have to pay them). It was broadcast from conservative religious radio and TV stations, and in the secular world. This is why you don’t have a chance of talking Uncle Bob out of voting for demagogues at the Thanksgiving table – you’re attacking his religion and core beliefs he’s heard since his first sermon, and his brain shuts down in anger. He’s been taught since he was a baby that he should hate and fear government, not corporations.