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Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic Hardcover – November 6, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019992984X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199929849
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Dr. Mark Hall offers a compelling Calvinist narrative to the formation of the American order in his recent political biography, Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic... Hall's political biography of Roger Sherman is an excellent and heartily welcomed addition to this woefully neglected field of research." --Alan R. Crippen II, John Jay Institute

"As is, we have a book on Roger Sherman that religious and revolutionary historians should find useful." --Journal of Church and State

"A great book about a great but little known American. Professor Hall gracefully explains how one of the Founding Era's best politicians fully integrated his religious faith into a life of pragmatic and effective public service. Why can't more histories be this enjoyable to read?"--William R. Casto, Paul Whitfield Horn University Professor of Law, Texas Tech University

"Hardly the 'simple cobbler from Connecticut' portrayed on Broadway in 1776, Roger Sherman emerges from Professor Hall's excellent volume as deeply immersed in both Reformed theology and the practical politics of nation-building. Sherman's contributions to the American founding have been overlooked for too long, and Professor Hall has done a great service to remind us not only of the importance of Sherman himself but also of the Protestant Reformed tradition that he represented."--Donald L. Drakeman, author of Church, State, and Original Intent

"While most debates about the constitutional intent of our Founding Fathers focus on Madison, Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson, Mark David Hall expands our intellectual horizons with this detailed examination of the life and thought of Roger Sherman, the most important of the 'forgotten founders.' But Hall's research is more than just a biography of one man; he uses the person of Roger Sherman to reveal the deep-seated culture of Calvinism that influenced the original structure of our nation's government. This book is a must-read for anyone engaged in legal debates about the nature of the U.S. Constitution."--Anthony Gill, author of The Political Origins of Religious Liberty

"The best life of Connecticut's foremost Founding Father ever written." --The American Conservative

"In this thoughtful, compelling book, Mark David Hall not only demonstrates that Roger Sherman was one of the most influential Founding Fathers, but he also convincingly locates Sherman's politics in the Reformed Christian tradition. Sherman deserves recognition as an indispensable leader of the new American nation, and every student and scholar of the Revolutionary period would profit greatly from reading Hall's treatment of this distinguished Connecticut Patriot."--Thomas S. Kidd, author of Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots

"Elegantly written, carefully researched, and downright persuasive...Hall so brilliantly and strenuously challenges the consensus view that we should look forward to this book being banned from public schools across the is a book worth reading."--Library of Law and Liberty

"This slim volume should find its way onto many syllabi. Clearly and engagingly written, itis perfect for undergraduates, who also respond enthusastically to the 'forgotten founder' trope. This fine study is recommended not only for students but also for scholars who believe they can understand the founding as a purely secular event." --The Journal of American History

About the Author

Mark David Hall is Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Politics at George Fox University.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By VA Duck on March 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Professor Mark David Hall offers a look at one of the most important of the least known Founders and Framers of the Constitution. The author's approach is NOT biographic (by his own assertion, loc. 230) but rather a careful examination of the influence of Sherman's religion (New Light Congregational) on his political acts. Roger Sherman's resumé is one of the most impressive of the founders. He was the ONLY Founder to sign all four of the Great State Papers of the United States (Articles of Association, 1774; Declaration of Independence, 1776; Articles of Confederation, 1777; & U.S. Constitution, 1787). He addressed the Constitutional Convention more times (138) than any but three of the other Delegates (Gouverneur Morris & James Wilson of PA and James Madison of VA) and served on five of its committees, an honor equalled only by Hugh Williamson of NC and exceeded only by Rufus King (6) of MA.

Professor Hall's work impressively examines Sherman's religion and its influence on him. The book also explores Sherman's political contributions. Where the book falls short (for this reader at least) is the promised connection, i.e. a clear illustration of HOW (and where) Mr. Sherman's particular brand of religious belief made its way into the Founding Documents. For the purpose of the author's thesis, one could (carefully) stipulate that religion influenced the Founders, or even influenced the drafting of the Great Papers. Notably, Professor Hall's book promised much more: "In this book I contend that the political ideas of many leaders in the founding era are best understood in light of a long tradition of CALVINIST reflection on politics" - but in the end, concludes without living up to the contention.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a well written book about one of the most influential forgotten figures of the founding period of our nation. While Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin grabbed more headlines, it was the quiet work of Roger Sherman that helped shape the nation. Sherman was not flashy in his ideas, but rather soundly based in the Reformed Christian tradition, which is sadly forgotten in today's history classes. During the founding era, about half of the population of the colonies considered themselves to be Reformed Christians, yet today we never hear about how their beliefs helped shape the nation. Hall provides a comprehensive list of the Founding Fathers that would have identified themselves as Reformed, and would closely identify with Sherman. And while Hall believes that their Christian beliefs informed their political philosophy, he doesn't over sell the point.

Contrary to popular belief, America has Christian roots. All because a few of the Founding Fathers considered themselves deists does not account for the whole. And while it is easy to cherry pick which Founder to quote on issues such as religious liberty, it is important to take a wider survey to more fully understand the great debates during the founding of our Republic.

Hall does a fantastic job with this book. I only wish it could have been longer.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an important book about an important man. Roger Sherman , along with Robert Morris, was the only founding father to sign the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the U.S. Constitution. Our current federal government exists because of the structure Sherman organized in the Constitution. His compromise get the small states to sign on to the union by giving them an equal vote in the U.S. Senate. Mark David Hall has written an excellent book on Roger Sherman the man and his accomplishments.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By SnickerdoodleSarah on October 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Who is Roger Sherman? The name sounded vaguely familiar to me but didn't bring up any definite information in my head. I understood that he had something important to do with the founding of our nation. What interested me in this book was that it appeared to be an argument against an exclusively secular interpretation of the founding documents. "Historians are better than political scientists and law professors at recognizing that faith mattered to many Americans in the founding era, but even they have a tendency to treat America's founders as deists who embraced a rationalist approach to politics and who embraced secular documents such as the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and the Bill of Rights…" Hall points out that, when discussing the founders' views of the separation of Church and State, people normally look at a select group of the most famous founders. He believes that this is not the best course of action as, "these men are not representative of the founders as a whole."

The more I read, the more interesting Rodger Sherman himself became to me. Sherman was the only founding father who signed and helped create all of what are probably the most important documents in the formation of America: The Declaration and Resolves, the Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and also helped with the Bill of Rights. This book is not really a biography, though it is biographical. Using Sherman as the primary example, the author makes a compelling case that many of the founders were Calvinistic/Reformed or that that was their religious background, and he demonstrates how their views of government were impacted/formed by their religious beliefs.
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