An anthology based on the contention that religion should be viewed historically as both an independent and a dependent variable. As part of the social structure, it is independent in that it performs certain functions and therefore "acts upon" society as a whole, but it is also dependent in that it is "acted upon" by the society in which it exists. The documents collected in this volume demonstrate that from the colonial period through the first two-thirds of the nineteenth century, religion as an independent variable was instrumental in the shaping of America. During the last third of the nineteenth century, however, religion became influenced by society.
Author Biography: Robert R. Mathisen is Associate Professor of History at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana.