Faith and the Founders of the American Republic

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-04-15
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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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.

Author Biography

Mark David Hall is Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Politics at George Fox University.

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

Table of Contents

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


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