The Origins of American Religious Nationalism

Hardcover | April 1, 2015

bySam Haselby

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Sam Haselby offers a new and persuasive account of the role of religion in the formation of American nationality, showing how a contest within Protestantism reshaped American political culture and led to the creation of an enduring religious nationalism. Following U.S. independence, the new republic faced vital challenges, including a vast and unique continental colonization project undertaken without, in the centuries-old European senses of the terms, either "a church" or "a state." Amid this crisis, two distinct Protestant movements arose: apopular and rambunctious frontier revivalism; and a nationalist, corporate missionary movement dominated by Northeastern elites. The former heralded the birth of popular American Protestantism, while the latter marked the advent of systematic Protestant missionary activity in the West. The explosive economic and territorial growth in the early American republic, and the complexity of its political life, gave both movements opportunities for innovation and influence. This book explores the competition between them in relation to major contemporary developments - politicaldemocratization, large-scale immigration and unruly migration, fears of political disintegration, the rise of American capitalism and American slavery, and the need to nationalize the frontier. Haselby traces these developments from before the American Revolution to the rise of Andrew Jackson. Hisapproach illuminates important changes in American history, including the decline of religious distinctions and the rise of racial ones, how and why "Indian removal" happened when it did, and with Andrew Jackson, the appearance of the first full-blown expression of American religiousnationalism.

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Sam Haselby offers a new and persuasive account of the role of religion in the formation of American nationality, showing how a contest within Protestantism reshaped American political culture and led to the creation of an enduring religious nationalism. Following U.S. independence, the new republic faced vital challenges, including a ...

Sam Haselby is a historian of religion and American political culture. He earned his PhD at Columbia University, was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, and has been a faculty member at the American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo. His writings on U.S. politics and religion in historical perspe...

other books by Sam Haselby

Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.41 × 6.5 × 1.3 inPublished:April 1, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199329575

ISBN - 13:9780199329571

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Powers of the Earth: Secularism and American Nationalism2. ''The Songs of a Nation'': The Connecticut Wits and the New English Empire3. To Raise a Holy People, Wear No Slouched Hat: The Methodist Settlement of the Frontier4. Sovereignty and Salvation on the Frontier of the Early Republic5. ''The Love of Order and Righteous Laws'': Early National Liberals and the Missions Movement6. ''A Complete Chain of Communication'': Religious Literature and Protestant Nation-BuildingEpilogue - A Monster and the Wandering Savage: The Resolution of Frontier Revivalism and National EvangelismIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This important book explains how the early United States became a battleground for competing visions of Protestant Christianity. Through incisive analysis of the separation of church and state, competition for souls on the frontier, and the rise of evangelical missions, Sam Haselby shows thatthe question is not if America was originally a Christian nation, but if it was a nation at all, and whose Christianity would rule." --Adam Rothman, Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University