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God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution Paperback – July 31, 2012
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Thought-provoking, meticulously researched ... a salutary reminder of the role religious belief played in the founding of our country ... all the more valuable because that story clearly is in danger of being expunged from the historical record.”
The Weekly Standard
[An] eloquently argued study.... [Kidd] demonstrates effectively the variety of faiths among Americans of the revolutionary era.”
Balanced without being bland, lucid in the telling, Thomas Kidd’s chronicle corrects the excesses both of those who overstate the degree to which America was founded as a Christian nation’ and of those who seek to minimize the formative role of religion in the new nation’s character.”
Full of information about the religion situation of the colonial, revolutionary and early periods of America.... Highly recommended.”
One of the many virtues of this book is that Kidd is a careful and judicious historian.... He points outcorrectlythe errors of both present-day secularists on the left, who insist that the founders barred religious voices from political discourse, and the church-state separation deniers on the right. The lesson of American history is that although church and state are institutionally separate, morality and freedom are seldom at odds and that, in fact, they are mutually reinforcing.”
The Weekly Standard
Kidd is careful not to adopt an explicitly Christian nation’ view of the role of religious faith, especially evangelical Christian faith, in the nation’s founding.... But he is unequivocal in stating that the majority of Americans at the time were Christian believers of some kind or other, and that the evangelical component of them (Patrick Henry, for example) played a formative role in creating the new republic.”
Journal of American History
One of the book’s key contributions is to highlight the role of evangelicals in the founding era.... [Kidd] offers a persuasive argument that scholars who neglect the influence of faith in American founding miss an important part of the story. God of Liberty is well researched, well organized, and extremely well written. It is one of those rare books that can be profitably read by specialists of the era and the general public.”
World Magazine: Today’s News, Christian Views
A pro-religion history of the American revolution. [Kidd] shows how the idea of religious liberty unified the colonists who were suspicious of not only British tyranny but any denomination’s ambitions for national control. Kidd shows that the Constitution, despite its lack of Christian language and its ban on religious tests, assumed that God is in charge.”
Top Customer Reviews
Kidd's work is full of details that educate, inspire, and often amuse. The narrative sweep of the work covers the stirrings of the Great Awakening, the millennial (end of the world) expectations Christian leaders attached to every event from the end of the Seven Years War to the election of Jefferson, the anti-bishop and anti-Catholic bigotry and paranoia that fed anti-British frenzy, the struggle to disestablish state churches in the colonies, the role of army chaplains in the revolutionary war, the views of the founders on the connection between virtue and freedom, the revivals that constantly swept across the country, the idea of equality emerging from the Bible and exhorted in Christian preaching (derived from Acts 17 - "God has made from one blood all nations of men"), the salutary omission of religion in the constitution and the ensuing controversy in ratification, and the religious controversy surrounding the election of "radical atheist" Thomas Jefferson. The whole story culminates in what Kidd terms the growth of a "nexus of religion and freedom" in which liberty of conscience and religiously inspired civic mindedness worked together to secure freedom, nourish religion, contributing to the country's vitality and strength.Read more ›
The American colonies, as described in Thomas Kidd's "God of Liberty" were a fractious and varied lot. Deists, like Jefferson and Madison, rubbed shoulders with dyed-in-the-wool Anglicans like Sam Adams, and with radical evangelists among the Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians. In today's world, these groups might be bitter enemies. But the pre-revolutionary period gave each a stake in the same game: putting an end to state sponsorship of the Anglican Church. The Deists wanted the freedom to follow reason rather than superstition. Non-Anglicans wanted to establish their own churches and end sanctioned harassment by Anglicans. Not to mention that they were sick of having their taxes spent on supporting the state-run church.
The book starts with the Great Awakening of the 1740s, a time of religious fervor in America where many desired personal redemption and a more emotionally-charged religious experience. This awakening of the spirit coincided with the belief that the millennium foretold by the Bible was imminent, and that God would intervene on the side of the virtuous. These feelings, combined with nascent rebellious stirrings, merged into a hatred for the tyranny symbolized by British rule.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Book! Was exactly what I was looking for when I bought itPublished 9 months ago by Isishannaisi
This was a good book. It's worth spending valuable time to read. the longer reviews here are better than mine would probably be, check them out, the book is good.Published 13 months ago by bombshelterbob
It is helpful to get a popular scholarly book on religion's role in the U.S. revolutionary period (and some beyond). Read morePublished 16 months ago by Ferrell Foster
I am a Christian, American Patriot, self-published author, and amateur student of the American Revolution. Read morePublished on June 10, 2014 by the1911patriot
Five star rating for information about our wonderful nation's history. Should be required reading for all high school students. Read morePublished on December 15, 2013 by Pat T.
Perhaps I expected a more thorough review and some incisive thought and reflection about what is today bandied about in the press and on blogs that America is a Christian nation. Read morePublished on December 10, 2013 by William Weitzel
every serious student of the American revolution must study the religious history.
this indeed is one of the main reasons for the initiation and sustainment of this conflict