God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution  -     By: Thomas S. Kidd
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God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution

Basic Books / 2012 / Paperback

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Before the Revolutionary War, America was a nation divided by different faiths. But when the war for independence sparked in 1776, colonists united under the banner of religious freedom. Evangelical frontiersmen and Deist intellectuals set aside their differences to defend a belief they shared: the right to worship freely. Inspiring an unlikely but powerful alliance, it was the idea of religious liberty that brought the colonists together in the battle against British tyranny.

In God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution, historian Thomas S. Kidd argues that the improbable partnership of evangelicals and Deists saw America through the Revolutionary War, the ratification of the Constitution, and up to the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800.

A thought-provoking reminder of the crucial role religion played in the Revolutionary era, God of Liberty represents both a timely appeal for spiritual diversity and a groundbreaking excavation of how faith powered the American Revolution.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Basic Books
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 8.30 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 046502890X
ISBN-13: 9780465028900
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

At the dawn of the Revolutionary War, America was already a nation of diverse faiths—the First Great Awakening and Enlightenment concepts such as deism and atheism had endowed the colonists with varying and often opposed religious beliefs. Despite their differences, however, Americans found common ground against British tyranny and formed an alliance that would power the American Revolution. In God of Liberty, historian Thomas S. Kidd offers the first comprehensive account of religion’s role during this transformative period. A compelling testament to evangelical Christians’ crucial contribution to American independence, God of Liberty is also a timely appeal for the same spiritual vitality that gave form to our nation and sustained it through its tumultuous birth.

Author Bio

Thomas S. Kidd is Associate Professor of History at Baylor University. The author of several books on topics in American religious history, he lives in Woodway, Texas.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Times
“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.”

Christianity Today
“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.”

The Oklahoman
“Full of information about the religion situation of the colonial, revolutionary and early periods of America.... Highly recommended.”

Christian Century
“One of the many virtues of this book is that Kidd is a careful and judicious historian.... He points out—correctly—the 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.”

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