Faith and the Presidency From George Washington to George W. Bush

Paperback | July 18, 2009

byGary Scott Smith

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In the wake of the 2004 election, pundits were shocked at exit polling that showed that 22% of voters thought 'moral values' was the most important issue at stake. People on both sides of the political divide believed this was the key to victory for George W. Bush, who professes a deep andabiding faith in God. While some fervent Bush supporters see him as a man chosen by God for the White House, opponents see his overt commitment to Christianity as a dangerous and unprecedented bridging of the gap between church and state.In fact, Gary Scott Smith shows, none of this is new. Religion has been a major part of the presidency since George Washington's first inaugural address. Despite the mounting interest in the role of religion in American public life, we actually know remarkably little about the faith of ourpresidents. Was Thomas Jefferson an atheist, as his political opponents charged? What role did Lincoln's religious views play in his handling of slavery and the Civil War? How did born-again Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter lose the support of many evangelicals? Was George W. Bush, as his critics oftenclaimed, a captive of the religious right? In this fascinating book, Smith answers these questions and many more. He takes a sweeping look at the role religion has played in presidential politics and policies. Drawing on extensive archival research, Smith paints compelling portraits of the religiouslives and presidencies of eleven chief executives for whom religion was particularly important. Faith and the Presidency meticulously examines what each of its subjects believed and how those beliefs shaped their presidencies and, in turn, the course of our history.

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In the wake of the 2004 election, pundits were shocked at exit polling that showed that 22% of voters thought 'moral values' was the most important issue at stake. People on both sides of the political divide believed this was the key to victory for George W. Bush, who professes a deep andabiding faith in God. While some fervent Bush s...

Gary Scott Smith chairs the History Department and coordinates the Humanities Core at Grove City College where he has taught since 1978. He is the author or editor of six books, including God and Politics: Four Views on the Reformation of Civil Government (1989) and The Search for Social Salvation: Social Christianity and America, 188...

other books by Gary Scott Smith

Format:PaperbackDimensions:680 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:July 18, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195395964

ISBN - 13:9780195395969

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. George Washington and Providential Agency2. Thomas Jefferson and the Separation of Church and State3. Abraham Lincoln: Saving the Last Best Hope of Earth4. Theodore Roosevelt and the Bully Pulpit5. Woodrow Wilson: Presbyterian Statesman6. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Quest to Achieve an Abundant Life7. Dwight David Eisenhower, Dynamic Conservatism, and the Religious Revival of the 1950s8. John F. Kennedy: The First Catholic President9. Jimmy Carter: First Servant of the Nation10. Ronald Reagan: Making America God's Shining City on a Hill11. George W. Bush: A Faith-Based PresidencyConclusionNotesIndex