Religion in the Oval Office: The Religious Lives of American Presidents

ISBN : 9780199391394

Gary Scott Smith
664 Pages
64 x 242 mm
Pub date
Apr 2015
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In Faith and the Presidency, Gary Scott Smith offered comprehensive, even-handed examinations of the role of religion in the lives, politics, and policies of eleven US presidents. In this book he takes on eleven more chief executives, drawing on a wide range of sources, and paying close attention to historical context and America's shifting social and moral values. Smith scrutinizes the convictions, use of religious rhetoric, and character of these eleven presidents by examining their lives, beliefs, policies, elections, and relationships of some of the nation's more colorful, charismatic, and complex leaders: John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, William McKinley, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Religious commitments, Smith shows, strongly affected policy, from John Quincy Adams' treatment of native Americans and diplomacy, to William McKinley's decision to declare war against Spain in 1898 and take control of the Philippines, to Herbert Hoover's quest to reform prisons and defend civil liberties, to Harry Truman's approach to the Cold War and decision to recognize Israel, to Bill Clinton's promotion of religious liberty and reform of welfare, to Barack Obama's policies on poverty and gay rights. This volume will offer an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the presidency and the role of religion in politics.


Ch. 1: John Adams: A Church-Going Sage
Ch. 2: James Madison: Champion of Religious Liberty
Ch. 3: John Quincy Adams: A Republic of Virtue
Ch. 4: Andrew Jackson: Providentialist President
Ch. 5: William McKinley: America as God's Instrument
Ch. 6: Herbert Hoover: Individual Faithfulness and Cooperative Association
Ch. 7: Harry S. Truman: The Golden Rule President
Ch. 8: Richard Nixon: A Private and Enigmatic Faith
Ch. 9: George H. W. Bush: "
Ch. 10: Bill Clinton: Sin, Atonement, and Repairing the Breach
Ch. 11: Barack Obama: "
Ch. 12: Conclusion

About the author: 

Gary Scott Smith is Chair and Professor of History at Grove City College.

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