Christianity and the American Revolution: Recommended Resources

The following books will be especially rewarding to the diligent reader.

Revival Background

Arguing for an explicit relationship between the Great Awakening and the Revolution are:

  • Alan E. Heimert, Religion and the American Mind from the Great Awakening to the Revolution (Harvard, 1966);
  • Patricia U. Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America (Oxford, 1986); and
  • Harry S. Stout, The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England (Oxford, 1986).

A Religious Revolution

Penetrating essays linking religious thought to the Revolution are found in:

  • Sidney E. Mead, The Lively Experiment: The Shaping of Christianity in America (Harper and Row, 1963) and
  • Jerald C. Brauer, ed., Religion and the American Revolution (Fortress, 1976).
  • Mark A. Noll, Christians in the American Revolution (Eerdmans, 1977) surveys the varied Christian responses to the Revolution.
  • Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation (Harper & Row, 1987) surveys these men’s religious beliefs in general, and in particular in Thomas Jefferson: A Religious Biography (Eerdmans, 1996).

For the interaction between republicanism and religious thought, see:

  • Nathan O. Hatch, The Sacred Cause of Liberty: Republican Thought and the Millennium in Revolutionary New England (Yale, 1977) and
  • Ruth Bloch, Visionary Republic: Millennial Themes in American Thought, 1756–1800 (Cambridge, 1985).
  • Russell E. Richey and Donald G. Jones, eds., American Civil Religion (Harper & Row, 1974) feature essays that consider how the revolutionary experience shaped America’s civil religion.

Out of the Mainstream

  • Rosemary Radford Ruether and Rosemary Skinner Keller, eds., Women and Religion in America, vol. 2, The Colonial and Revolutionary Periods (Harper & Row, 1983); see especially Keller’s chapter.
  • Ronald Hoffman and Peter J. Albert, eds., Religion in a Revolutionary Age (Virginia, 1994) contains chapters on the religious experiences of women, blacks, workers, and evangelicals in Revolutionary America.
  • Charles H. Metzer, Catholics and the American Revolution (Loyola, 1962).
  • Stephen A. Marini, The Radical Sects of Revolutionary New England (Harvard, 1982).
  • Peter Brock, Pacificism in the United States: From the Colonial Era to the First World War (Princeton, 1968).
By David W. Kling

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #50 in 1996]

David W. Kling is assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Miami and author of A Field of Divine Wonders: The New Divinity and Village Revivals in Northwestern Connecticut, 1792–1822 (Penn State, 1993).
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