The Origins of American Religious Nationalism

ISBN : 9780199329571

Sam Haselby
352 ページ
162 x 237 mm
Religion in America

Sam Haselby offers a new and persuasive account of the role of religion in the formation of American nationality. The book shows how, in the early American republic, a contest within Protestantism reshaped American political culture, leading to the creation of an enduring religious nationalism. Following U.S. independence, the new republic faced vital challenges, including a vast and unique continental colonization project undertaken without (in the centuries-old European senses of the terms) either "a church" or "a state." Amid this crisis, two distinct Protestant movements arose: one, a popular and rambunctious frontier revivalism, and the other a nationalist, corporate missionary movement dominated by New England and Northeastern elites. The former heralded the birth of popular American Protestantism, while the latter marked the advent of systematic Protestant missionary activity in the West. The world-historic economic and territorial growth that accelerated in the early American republic, and the complexity of its political life, gave both movements unusual opportunity for innovation and influence. The Origins of American Religious Nationalism explores the competition between them in relation to major contemporary political developments. More specifically, political democratization, large-scale immigration and unruly migration, fears of political disintegration, the rise of American capitalism and American slavery, and the need to nationalize the frontier, all shaped, and were shaped by, this contest. The book follows these developments, focusing mostly on religion and the frontier, from before the American Revolution to the rise of Andrew Jackson. The approach helps explains many important general developments in American history, including why Indian removal took place when and how it did, why the political power of the Southern planter class could be sustained, and, above all, how Andrew Jackson was able to create the first full-blown expression of American religious nationalism.


Chapter 1 The Powers of the Earth: Secularism and American Nationalism
Chapter 2 "The Songs of a Nation": The Connecticut Wits and the New English Empire
Chapter 3 To Raise a Holy People, Wear No Slouched Hat: The Methodist Settlement of the Frontier
Chapter 4 Sovereignty and Salvation on the Frontier of the Early Republic
Chapter 5 "The Love of Order and Righteous Laws": Early National Liberals and the Missions Movement
Chapter 6 "A Complete Chain of Communication": Religious Literature and Protestant Nation-Building
Epilogue-A Monster and the Wandering Savage: The Resolution of Frontier Revivalism and National Evangelism


Sam Haselby was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows from 2007-10, a faculty member at the American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo, and the Senior Executive Producer for Al Jazeera America Digital. He is now a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Columbia University.