By Denis Lacorne
Denis Lacorne identifies competing narratives defining the yank id. the 1st narrative, derived from the philosophy of the Enlightenment, is largely secular. linked to the Founding Fathers and mirrored within the statement of Independence, the structure, and the Federalist Papers, this line of reasoning is based on setting apart faith from politics to maintain political freedom from an overwhelming church. famous thinkers akin to Voltaire, Thomas Paine, and Jean-Nicolas Démeunier, who considered the yank undertaking as an intensive try to create a brand new regime loose from faith and the load of old background, embraced this American attempt to set up a real "wall of separation" among church and country.
The moment narrative is predicated at the premise that faith is a basic a part of the yank identification and emphasizes the significance of the unique cost of the US by means of New England Puritans. This substitute imaginative and prescient was once elaborated by means of Whig politicians and Romantic historians within the first half the 19th century. it truly is nonetheless shared through sleek political scientists reminiscent of Samuel Huntington. those thinkers insist the United States possesses a center, strong "Creed" blending Protestant and republican values. Lacorne outlines the function of faith within the making of those narratives and examines, by contrast backdrop, how key historians, philosophers, novelists, and intellectuals situate faith in American politics.
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Extra resources for Religion in America: A Political History (Religion, Culture, and Public Life)
The spectacle was clearly amazing: New England Puritans persecuting dissidents, going so far as to “immolate their brothers . . for the love of heaven”; Quakers who were such extreme paciﬁsts that they “allowed themselves to be slaughtered without ﬁghting back”; Anglicans in Virginia, “persecutors in fancy dress,” accompanied by their black slaves; Catholics in Maryland, guided by “priests in bright raiment covered with crosses speaking gibberish and professing universal tolerance. . ” The spectacle was undoubtedly simultaneously depressing and amusing for the observer, “who could not imagine that all these people came from the same country .
In short, they are modern contemplatives. Men and women live chastely apart. Marriage is not forbidden, but those who do marry settle outside the community. According to the Encyclopédie méthodique, Pennsylvania is not the place where the Golden Age has returned to earth, but the location of innocence and virtue. ”20 The Disenchantment of Skeptics Other late eighteenth-century travelers demonstrated less enthusiasm. The exoticism of North American religions continued, naturally, to be a source of fascination, and Quakerism gave rise to further detailed and impassioned descriptions.
When Chateaubriand landed in Philadelphia in 1791, “full of enthusiasm for the [A]ncients,” he expected to encounter in what was then the capital of the United States the new Cincinnatus, General Washington, ﬁrst president of the Federal Republic. He was disappointed when he saw the great man riding in an elegant phaeton: “Cincinnatus in a carriage slightly disturbed my Republic of the year of Rome 296 [sic]. indb 11 5/20/11 7:49:41 AM 12 a m e r i c a , t h e la n d o f r e l i g i o u s uto pi a s transplantation of an English town.
Religion in America: A Political History (Religion, Culture, and Public Life) by Denis Lacorne