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Faith of the Founders
Religion and the New Nation, 1776-1826

By Edwin S. Gaustad Foreword by Randall Balmer

Faith of the Founders
Paperback, 180 pages $29.95
Published: 1st September 2011
ISBN: 9781932792096
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All History, All Political Science, All Religious Studies, American History, Church History, Political Philosophy

In the lauded Faith of the Founders, revered historianEdwin Gaustad provides a careful consideration of the developing relationship between religion and the state after the American Revolution. With concise focus on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and John Adams, Gaustad identifies seven varying—sometimes contrary—perspectives on religion that guided the nation’s founders. Faith of the Founders masterfully shows how these figures possessed an intuitive understanding of religion that helped nourish a young country. Repackaged for a new generation of readers and with a new foreword by Randall Balmer, this brief but insightful book offers a look into the founding fathers' genius—and points to a way forward through the ideological boundaries that threaten to upend the daily doings of American government today.

List of Illustrations


1. An Introduction

2. The Colonies and Their Churches

3. The Libertarians: Jefferson and Madison

4. The Icons: Franklin and Washington

5. The Philosophes: Adams and Jefferson

6. The Churches and the People

7. Epilogue

Appendix A. Major Documents Pertinent to Religion, 1785-1789

Appendix B. Selected State Declarations of Rights and Constitutions with Respect to Religion, 1776-1799


Bibliographical Note


"As clear and serene a guide to the mixture of religious and political events at the time of the nation's founding as we are likely to get."

—Martin Marty, Catholic Historical Review

"Historically informative and as relevant as today's headlines. The author brings to these sensitive chapters all the wisdom and sophistication and that have marked him as a premier historian of the American religious experience."

—Henry W. Bowden, Religious Studies Review

"Gaustad reminds us of the genius behind the founders' formulations regarding the relationship between church and state. Faith of the Founders is the best summary available of the social, political, and intellectual context that surrounded the crafting of our charter documents."

—Randall Balmer, author of The Making of Evangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond

"Based on James Sprunt lectures delivered at Union Theological Seminary (Richmond), this beautifully written book shows the complexity of church-state relations in the early republic."

—Justus D. Doenecke, New College of Florida, Anglican and Episcopal History

Edwin S. Gaustad is emeritus Professor of History, University of California, Riverside. He is a noted church historian and the author of over a dozen books.

Randall Balmer is John Phillips Professor in Religion and Chair of the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 180 pages
 9in x 6in
6 b/w images

 Baylor University Press

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