God and the Founders

Author: Vincent Phillip Muñoz
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521515157
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God and the Founders explains the church-state political philosophies of James Madison, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.

Dominion of Memories

Author: Susan Dunn
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465006795
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For decades, the Commonwealth of Virginia led the nation. The premier state in population, size, and wealth, it produced a galaxy of leaders: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Mason, Marshall. Four of the first five presidents were Virginians. And yet by the middle of the nineteenth century, Virginia had become a byword for slavery, provincialism, and poverty. What happened? In her remarkable book, Dominion of Memories, historian Susan Dunn reveals the little known story of the decline of the Old Dominion. While the North rapidly industrialized and democratized, Virginia's leaders turned their backs on the accelerating modern world. Spellbound by the myth of aristocratic, gracious plantation life, they waged an impossible battle against progress and time itself. In their last years, two of Virginia's greatest sons, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, grappled vigorously with the Old Dominion's plight. But bound to the traditions of their native soil, they found themselves grievously torn by the competing claims of state and nation, slavery and equality, the agrarian vision and the promises of economic development and prosperity. This fresh and penetrating examination of Virginia's struggle to defend its sovereignty, traditions, and unique identity encapsulates, in the history of a single state, the struggle of an entire nation drifting inexorably toward Civil War.

Founding Faith

Author: Steven Waldman
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 158836674X
Format: PDF, ePub
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The culture wars have distorted the dramatic story of how Americans came to worship freely. Many activists on the right maintain that the United States was founded as a “Christian nation.” Many on the left contend that the Founders were secular or Deist and that the First Amendment was designed to boldly separate church and state throughout the land. None of these claims are true, argues Beliefnet.com editor in chief Steven Waldman. With refreshing objectivity, Waldman narrates the real story of how our nation’s Founders forged a new approach to religious liberty, a revolutionary formula that promoted faith . . . by leaving it alone. This fast-paced narrative begins with earlier settlers’ stunningly unsuccessful efforts to create a Christian paradise, and concludes with the presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison, during which the men who had devised lofty principles regarding the proper relationship between church and state struggled to practice what they’d preached. We see how religion helped cause, and fuel, the Revolutionary War, and how the surprising alliance between Enlightenment philosophers such as Jefferson and Madison and evangelical Christians resulted in separation of church and state. As the drama unfolds, Founding Faith vividly describes the religious development of five Founders. Benjamin Franklin melded the morality-focused Puritan theology of his youth and the reason-based Enlightenment philosophy of his adulthood. John Adams’s pungent views on religion–hatred of the Church of England and Roman Catholics–stoked his revolutionary fervor and shaped his political strategy. George Washington came to view religious tolerance as a military necessity. Thomas Jefferson pursued a dramatic quest to “rescue” Jesus, in part by editing the Bible. Finally, it was James Madison–the tactical leader of the battle for religious freedom–who crafted an integrated vision of how to prevent tyranny while encouraging religious vibrancy. The spiritual custody battle over the Founding Fathers and the role of religion in America continues today. Waldman provocatively argues that neither side in the culture war has accurately depicted the true origins of the First Amendment. He sets the record straight, revealing the real history of religious freedom to be dramatic, unexpected, paradoxical, and inspiring. An interactive library of the key writings by the Founding Father, on separation of church and state, personal faith, and religious liberty can be found at www.beliefnet.com/foundingfaith.

Religious Liberty and the American Supreme Court

Author: Vincent Phillip Munoz
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 1442250321
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Throughout American history, legal battles concerning the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty have been among the most contentious issue of the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. This book represents the most authoritative and up-to-date overview of the landmark cases that have defined religious freedom in America.

Resistance to Tyrants Obedience to God

Author: Dustin A. Gish
Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 073918220X
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Both reason and religion have been acknowledged by scholars to have had a profound impact on the foundation and formation of the American regime. But the significance, pervasiveness, and depth of that impact have also been disputed. While many have approached the American founding period with an interest in the influence of Enlightenment reason or Biblical religion, they have often assumed such influences to be exclusive, irreconcilable, or contradictory. Few scholarly works have sought to study the mutual influence of reason and religion as intertwined strands shaping the American historical and political experience at its founding. The purpose of the chapters in this volume, authored by a distinguished group of scholars in political science, intellectual history, literature, and philosophy, is to examine how this mutual influence was made manifest in the American Founding—especially in the writings, speeches, and thought of critical figures (Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Charles Carroll), and in later works by key interpreters of the American Founding (Alexis de Tocqueville and Abraham Lincoln). Taken as a whole, then, this volume does not attempt to explain away the potential opposition between religion and reason in the American mind of the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth- centuries, but instead argues that there is a uniquely American perspective and political thought that emerges from this tension. The chapters gathered here, individually and collectively, seek to illuminate the animating affect of this tension on the political rhetoric, thought, and history of the early American period. By taking seriously and exploring the mutual influence of these two themes in creative tension, rather than seeing them as diametrically opposed or as mutually exclusive, this volume thus reveals how the pervasiveness and resonance of Biblical narratives and religion supported and infused Enlightened political discourse and action at the Founding, thereby articulating the complementarity of reason and religion during this critical period.

American Gospel

Author: Jon Meacham
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781588365774
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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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

Religious Freedom in America

Author: Allen D. Hertzke
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
ISBN: 0806149914
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This truly interdisciplinary volume brings together respected historians, social scientists, legal scholars, and advocates. As their contributions attest, understanding religious freedom demands taking multiple perspectives. The historians guide us through the contested legacy of religious freedom, from the nation’s founding and the rise of public education, to the subsequent waves of immigration that added successive layers of diversity to American society.

Faith and the Founders of the American Republic

Author: Daniel L. Dreisbach
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199843341
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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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.

So Help Me God

Author: F. Forrester Church
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780151011858
Format: PDF
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Examines America's first battle over the role of religion in American politics, which raged from the presidency of George Washington to the administration of James Monroe, examining the issue of the separation of church and state.

The Faiths of the Founding Fathers

Author: David L. Holmes
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0195300920
Format: PDF, ePub
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An in-depth examination of the spiritual beliefs of America's founding fathers provides an account of the religious culture of the late colonial era and looks at individual beliefs of men and women who played a significant role in American history.