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History As It Happens

Jul 27, 2021

Few aspects of the American Revolution are as misunderstood as the role of religion. Current debates usually focus on whether the United States was founded as a Christian nation and, if true, what that would mean for public policy today. The founding documents have become a battlefield for competing claims about the faith, or lack thereof, of their authors, replete with cherry-picked quotes purporting to show that our early leaders did or did not want to privilege one religion over another. It's time to take a fresh a look at this debate. Historian Katherine Carté, author of Religion and the American Revolution reconstructs “the religious world into which the American Revolution intruded,” pitting protestant against protestant in what was an “empire of imperial protestantism.”