Religion in the Oval Office: The Religious Lives of American Presidents

Hardcover | April 15, 2015

byGary Scott Smith

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In his highly praised book Faith and the Presidency, historian Gary Scott Smith cast a revealing light on the role religion has played in presidential politics throughout our nation's history, offering comprehensive, even-handed examinations of the role of religion in the lives, politics, andpolicies of eleven presidents. Now, in Religion in the Oval Office, Smith takes on eleven more of our nation's most interesting and influential chief executives: John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, William McKinley, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and BarackObama. Drawing on a wide range of sources and paying close attention to historical context and America's shifting social and moral values, he examines their religious beliefs, commitments, affiliations, and practices and scrutinizes their relationships with religious leaders and communities. Theresult is a fascinating account of the ways in which religion has helped shape the course of our history. From John Quincy Adams' treatment of Native Americans, to Harry Truman's decision to recognize Israel, to Bill Clinton's promotion of religious liberty and welfare reform, to Barack Obama'spolicies on poverty and gay rights, Smith shows how strongly our presidents' religious commitments have affected policy from the earliest days of our nation to the present. Together with Faith and the Presidency, Religion in the Oval Office provides the most comprehensive examination of the inseparable and intriguing relationship between faith and the American presidency. This book will be invaluable to anyone interested in the presidency and the role of religion inpolitics.

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From the Publisher

In his highly praised book Faith and the Presidency, historian Gary Scott Smith cast a revealing light on the role religion has played in presidential politics throughout our nation's history, offering comprehensive, even-handed examinations of the role of religion in the lives, politics, andpolicies of eleven presidents. Now, in Relig...

Gary Scott Smith is Chair of the History Department at Grove City College. He is the author of numerous books on history and religion including Faith and the Presidency: From George Washington to George W. Bush, and Heaven in the American Imagination.

other books by Gary Scott Smith

Format:HardcoverDimensions:624 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:April 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199391394

ISBN - 13:9780199391394

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Table of Contents

AbbreviationsAcknoledgementsIntroduction1. John Adams: A Church-Going Sage2. James Madison: Champion of Religious Liberty3. John Quincy Adams: A Republic of Virtue4. Andrew Jackson: Providentialist President5. William McKinley: America as God's Instrument6. Herbert Hoover: Individual Faithfulness and Cooperative Association7. Harry S. Truman: The Golden Rule President8. Richard Nixon: A Private and Enigmatic Faith9. George H. W. Bush: "One Nation under God"10. Bill Clinton: Sin, Atonement, and Repairing the Breach11. Barack Obama: "We Are Our Brother's Keeper"12. ConclusionNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Smith draws on extensive archival research to describe how faith helped shape presidential character, political philosophy and the interplay between beliefs and policies. What resounds on page after fascinating page is that, despite all the handwringing over the role of religion in Americanpublic life, in reality we've known very little about the steadfast beliefs of our past presidents." --Pittsburgh Post-Gazette