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TitleSecularists, Religion and Government in Nineteenth-Century America [electronic resource] / by Timothy Verhoeven
ImprintCham : Springer International Publishing : Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019
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Descript IX, 286 p. 10 illus., 5 illus. in color. online resource


This book shows how, through a series of fierce battles over Sabbath laws, legislative chaplains, Bible-reading in public schools and other flashpoints, nineteenth-century secularists mounted a powerful case for a separation of religion and government. Among their diverse ranks were religious skeptics, liberal Protestants, members of minority faiths, labor reformers and defenders of slavery. Drawing on popular petitions to Congress, a neglected historical source, the book explores how this secularist mobilization gathered energy at the grassroots level. The nineteenth century is usually seen as the golden age of an informal Protestant establishment. Timothy Verhoeven demonstrates that, far from being crushed by an evangelical juggernaut, secularists harnessed a range of cultural forces—the legacy of the Revolutionary founders, hostility to Catholicism, a belief in national exceptionalism and more—to argue that the United States was not a Christian nation, branding their opponents as fanatics who threatened both democratic liberties as well as true religion.


1. Introduction -- 2. "Stepping Stone to an Establishment": The 1785 Campaign Against the Religious Tax in Virginia -- 3. “Prostrating our rights on the altar of superstition and bigotry”:The Sunday Mail Controversy in the Early Republic -- 4. “Exposing priestcraft and all its cognate -isms”: Chaplains, Temperance and Sunday Travel -- 5. “God’s Vice-Regents”: Political Preachers and the Crisis over Slavery -- 6. How Christian Were the Founders? God and the Constitution After the Civil War -- 7. The Bible Wars: Religion, Morality and Schools in an International Age -- 8. “Sunday clubs for wealthy people”: Taxing the Churches -- 9. “A professedly national secular show”: The World’s Fair Sunday Opening Controversy -- 10. Conclusion

United States-History Law-History Religion-History World politics US History. Legal History. History of Religion. Political History.


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