The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America

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Princeton University Press, Jan 1, 2003 - History - 328 pages
2 Reviews

How did the United States, founded as colonies with explicitly religious aspirations, come to be the first modern state whose commitment to the separation of church and state was reflected in its constitution? Frank Lambert explains why this happened, offering in the process a synthesis of American history from the first British arrivals through Thomas Jefferson's controversial presidency.

Lambert recognizes that two sets of spiritual fathers defined the place of religion in early America: what Lambert calls the Planting Fathers, who brought Old World ideas and dreams of building a "City upon a Hill," and the Founding Fathers, who determined the constitutional arrangement of religion in the new republic. While the former proselytized the "one true faith," the latter emphasized religious freedom over religious purity.

Lambert locates this shift in the mid-eighteenth century. In the wake of evangelical revival, immigration by new dissenters, and population expansion, there emerged a marketplace of religion characterized by sectarian competition, pluralism, and widened choice. During the American Revolution, dissenters found sympathetic lawmakers who favored separating church and state, and the free marketplace of religion gained legal status as the Founders began the daunting task of uniting thirteen disparate colonies. To avoid discord in an increasingly pluralistic and contentious society, the Founders left the religious arena free of government intervention save for the guarantee of free exercise for all. Religious people and groups were also free to seek political influence, ensuring that religion's place in America would always be a contested one, but never a state-regulated one.

An engaging and highly readable account of early American history, this book shows how religious freedom came to be recognized not merely as toleration of dissent but as a natural right to be enjoyed by all Americans.

  

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Review: The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America

User Review  - Tj - Goodreads

Learned a lot. Some what tough to read because of the old English grammar Read full review

Review: The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America

User Review  - Earon S. - Goodreads

This book presents the historical information on the faiths of our our Founding Fathers. Rather than being Christian fundamentalists, they were mostly intellectuals trying to bring this nation beyond ... Read full review

Contents

English Heritage
21
The Crown and the Church
23
The Age of Faith
31
The Act of Uniformity Religious Liberty and Dissent
39
Transplanting the Church of England in the Chesapeake
46
Nursing Fathers of the Church
48
A Gentlemans Religion
58
Religious Outsiders
67
Science and Religion
167
Founders and True Religion
173
Whigs and Dissenters Fight Religious Regulation
180
Whig and Dissenting Traditions
182
Warning against Spiritual Directors
187
Dissent against the Standing Order
194
The American Revolution of Religion
207
Religion and Independence
210

Puritan Fathers and the Christian Commonwealth
73
the religious design of the Puritan Fathers
76
Shields unto the Churches of the NewEngland
82
a wellbounded Toleration
89
A Holy Experiment in Religious Pluralism
100
The Holy Experiment
102
a great mixt multitude
109
Religion Politics and the Failure of the Holy Experiment
114
Trafficking for the Lord and the Expansion of Religious Choice
127
Regulated Parishes
129
a Sett of Rambling Fellows
136
as tho they had their Religion to chuse
145
Deists Enter the Religious Marketplact
159
The New Learning
162
Opposing Massachusettss oppressive establishment of religion
219
Triumph of Religion Freedom in Virginia
225
Constitutional Recognition of a Free Religious Market
236
Religious Factions and the Threat to Union
241
The Godless Constitution
246
Ratification Contingent upon Religious Freedom
253
Religion and Politics in the Presidential Campaign of 1800
265
Religion and Politics in the Presidential Campaign of 1800 govern in the name of the Lo Jesus Christ
268
JEFFERSONAND NO GOD
276
one God three Gods no God or twenty Gods
280
Epilogue
288
Notes
297
Index
323
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Frank Lambert is Professor of History at Purdue University. He is the author of "Pedlar in Divinity" and "Inventing the "Great Awakening"" (both Princeton).

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