American Gospel God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation

ISBN-10: 1400065550

ISBN-13: 9781400065554

Edition: 2006

Authors: Jon Meacham

List price: $23.95
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Description:

The American Gospel–literally, the good news about America–is that religion shapes our public life without controlling it. In this vivid book, New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham tells the human story of how the Founding Fathers viewed faith, and how they ultimately created a nation in which belief in God is a matter of choice. At a time when our country seems divided by extremism, American Gospel draws on the past to offer a new perspective. Meacham re-creates the fascinating history of a nation grappling with religion and politics–from John Winthrop’s “city on a hill” sermon to Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence; from the Revolution to the Civil War; from a proposed nineteenth-century Christian Amendment to the Constitution to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call for civil rights; from George Washington to Ronald Reagan. Debates about religion and politics are often more divisive than illuminating. Secularists point to a “wall of separation between church and state,” while many conservatives act as though the Founding Fathers were apostles in knee britches. As Meacham shows in this brisk narrative, neither extreme has it right. At the heart of the American experiment lies the God of what Benjamin Franklin called “public religion,” a God who invests all human beings with inalienable rights while protecting private religion from government interference. It is a great American balancing act, and it has served us well. Meacham has written and spoken extensively about religion and politics, and he brings historical authority and a sense of hope to the issue. American Gospel makes it compellingly clear that the nation’s best chance of summoning what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature” lies in recovering the spirit and sense of the Founding. In looking back, we may find the light to lead us forward. “In his American Gospel, Jon Meacham provides a refreshingly clear, balanced, and wise historical portrait of religion and American politics at exactly the moment when such fairness and understanding are much needed. Anyone who doubts the relevance of history to our own time has only to read this exceptional book.”–David McCullough, author of 1776 “Jon Meacham has given us an insightful and eloquent account of the spiritual foundation of the early days of the American republic. It is especially instructive reading at a time when the nation is at once engaged in and deeply divided on the question of religion and its place in public life.”–Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation “An absorbing narrative full of vivid characters and fresh thinking, American Gospel tells how the Founding Fathers–and their successors–struggled with their own religious and political convictions to work out the basic structure for freedom of religion. For me this book was nonstop reading.”–Elaine Pagels, professor of religion, Princeton University, author of Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas “Jon Meacham is one of our country’s most brilliant thinkers about religion’s impact on American society. In this scintillating and provocative book, Meacham reveals the often-hidden influence of religious belief on the Founding Fathers and on later generations of American citizens and leaders up to our own. Today, as we argue more strenuously than ever about the proper place of religion in our politics and the rest of American life, Meacham’s important book should serve as the touchstone of the debate.” –Michael Beschloss, author of The Conquerors “At a time when faith and freedom seem increasingly polarized, American Gospel recovers our vital cent
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Book details

List price: $23.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 4/4/2006
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 416
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.518
Language: English

Jon Meacham was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on May 20, 1969. He received a degree in English literature at the University of the South. He joined Newsweek as a writer in 1995. Three years later, at the age of 29, he was promoted to managing editor, supervising coverage of politics, international affairs, and breaking news. In 2006, he was promoted to editor at Newsweek. He is currently an executive editor at Random House. He won the Pulitzer Prize for American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House in 2009. His other works include Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. In 2001, he edited Voices in Our Blood: America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement. In 2013 his title Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power made The New York Times Best Seller List.

Introduction : American gospel : faith and freedom
God and mammon : fortune, fear, and the first colonies
And none shall be afraid : the revolution, the Constitution, and the creation of the presidency
Let us die to make men free : the Civil War, Lincoln, and Darwin
Imperfect though we are : wars against the Great Depression, totalitarianism, and Jim Crow
The fight is on : the martyrdom of Dr. King, the rise of a new right, and Reagan's delicate balance 200
Our hope for years to come : history, religion, and common sense
In their own words : selected documents on religion in America
Scripture and state : the presidents' choice of inaugural Bible verses
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