American Religion, American Politics


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An Anthology

Edited by Joseph Kip Kosek; Foreword by Jon Butler

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Essential primary sources reveal the central tensions between American politics and religion throughout the nation’s history

Despite the centrality of separation of church and state in American government, religion has played an important role in the nation’s politics from colonial times through the present day. This essential anthology provides a fascinating history of religion in American politics and public life through a wide range of primary documents. It explores contentious debates over freedom, tolerance, and justice, in matters ranging from slavery to the nineteenth-century controversy over Mormon polygamy to the recent discussions concerning same-sex marriage and terrorism.
Bringing together a diverse range of voices from Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and secular traditions and the words of historic personages, from Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Frances Willard to John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., this collection is an invaluable introduction to one of the most important conversations in America’s history.

Joseph Kip Kosek is associate professor of American studies at George Washington University. Kosek is the author of Acts of Conscience: Christian Nonviolence and Modern American Democracy.

"Joseph Kip Kosek has rendered valuable service by bringing together these sources. A careful perusal of American Religion, American Politics may bring some clarity to matters that have never been more contested in our public conversation."—Randall Balmer, Dartmouth College

"Joseph Kip Kosek’s intelligent, informative, and insightful assemblage of documents illuminates questions central to American history and intensely relevant at the present."—Mark A. Noll, co-editor of Religion and American Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present   

"Kosek's collection breaks new ground in tying U.S. spiritual diversity to the swirl of American politics. From the 17th century to the 21st, the book captures the quest to infuse public life with religious energy while shielding it from religious control. Cogent introductions make these 34 documents ideal for classroom use."—Richard Wightman Fox, author of Lincoln's Body:  A Cultural History


“An important and timely collection of primary source documents that offers readers deeper historical perspective on many of the complicated and controversial issues currently influencing religion and American political culture.”—Spencer W. McBride, Reading Religion

“A timely volume . . . An engaging work of diverse viewpoints very adaptable to class use.”—J. R. Vile, Choice
ISBN: 9780300203516
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
272 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4