Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America by Frank Lambert
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Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America
By Frank Lambert

The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America

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Format: Paperback

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Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America by Frank Lambert

Book Awards

  • Shortlisted for Choice Magazine Outstanding Reference/Academic Book Award 2003.

Book Description

How did the United States, founded as colonies with explicitly religious aspirations, come to be the first modern state whose commitment to the separation of church and state was reflected in its constitution? Frank Lambert explains why this happened, offering in the process a synthesis of American history from the first British arrivals through Thomas Jefferson's controversial presidency. Lambert recognizes that two sets of spiritual fathers defined the place of religion in early America: what Lambert calls the Planting Fathers, who brought Old World ideas and dreams of building a "City upon a Hill," and the Founding Fathers, who determined the constitutional arrangement of religion in the new republic. While the former proselytized the "one true faith," the latter emphasized religious freedom over religious purity. Lambert locates this shift in the mid-eighteenth century. In the wake of evangelical revival, immigration by new dissenters, and population expansion, there emerged a marketplace of religion characterized by sectarian competition, pluralism, and widened choice. During the American Revolution, dissenters found sympathetic lawmakers who favored separating church and state, and the free marketplace of religion gained legal status as the Founders began the daunting task of uniting thirteen disparate colonies. To avoid discord in an increasingly pluralistic and contentious society, the Founders left the religious arena free of government intervention save for the guarantee of free exercise for all. Religious people and groups were also free to seek political influence, ensuring that religion's place in America would always be a contested one, but never a state-regulated one. An engaging and highly readable account of early American history, this book shows how religious freedom came to be recognized not merely as toleration of dissent but as a natural right to be enjoyed by all Americans.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691126029
ISBN-10: 069112602X
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 21mm)
Pages: 344
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 27-Feb-2006
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Frank Lambert

XYZ by Frank Lambert XYZ, Paperback (October 2014)

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Religion in American Politics by Frank Lambert Religion in American Politics, Paperback (February 2010)

The delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention blocked the establishment of Christianity as a national religion. But they could not keep religion out of American politics. This title shows that religion became sectarian and partisan whenever it entered the political fray, and that religious agendas have always mixed with nonreligious ones.

Pedlar in Divinity by Frank Lambert Pedlar in Divinity, Paperback (November 2002)

A pioneer in the commercialization of religion, George Whitefield (1714 - 1770) is seen by many as the most powerful leader of the Great Awakening in America: through his passionate ministry he united local religious revivals into a national movement before there was a nation.

Inventing the Great Awakening by Frank Lambert Inventing the Great Awakening, Paperback (January 2001)

Features the history of an evangelical revival known in America as the "Great Awakening"�'. This book offers an overview of this episode and proposes an explanation of its origins. It demonstrates that the Great Awakening was invented not by historians but by eighteenth-century evangelicals who were skillful and enthusiastic religious promoters.

» View all books by Frank Lambert


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Author Biography - Frank Lambert

Frank Lambert is Professor of History at Purdue University. He is the author of "Pedlar in Divinity" and "Inventing the "Great Awakening" (both Princeton).

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