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Toolbox Library, primary resources thematically organized with notes and discussion questionsOnline Seminars, professional development seminars for history and literature teachersLiving the Revolution: America, 1789-1820
Living the Revolution: America, 1789-1820
Topic: Predicaments of Early Republican LifeTopic: ReligionTopic: PoliticsTopic: ExpansionTopic: Equality
Topic: Religion
Overview of Living the Revolution
Resource Menu: Religion
Text 1. Online Exhibition
» Reading Guide
•  Link

Text 2. Jefferson/Madison
Text 3. Adams/Jefferson
Text 4. American Bible Society
Text 5. Forks of Elkhorn Baptist Church
Text 6. Rev. Peter Cartwright
Text 7. Richard Allen
Text 8. Background
RESOURCE MENU » Reading Guide Link

Reading Guide
1.  Online Exhibition: Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, Sections VI and VII   Matteson, The Prayer in the First Congress, A.D. 1774, 1848
Matteson, The Prayer in the First Congress, A.D. 1774, 1848

This exhibition from the Library of Congress provides a made-to-order introduction to this section. As you read the brief content overviews and view the graphics, documents, and artifacts, your appetite will be whetted for exploring this aspect of the newly free nation. Section VI, "Religion and the Federal Government," reviews the church-state relationship from the perspective of several "Founding Fathers"—Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and Franklin. Section VII, "Religion and the New Republic," presents the religious orientations of the populace, especially in evangelical churches, the African American church, and the proliferation of new sects. This pairing reflects the organization in this Toolbox section, as you progress from reading the letters of rationalist Thomas Jefferson to the memoirs of an evangelical "backwoods preacher." Ideal for student use. Not designed for printing.

Discussion questions
  ·  How did the first four presidents define the role of religion in a republic?
  ·  To what extent did they wish the government to foster non-sectarian religion?
  ·  In what way was evangelicalism "a kind of national religion"? Did evangelical leaders favor a government-supported church?
  ·  How did evangelicalism influence the rise of an independent African American church?
  ·  How did evangelical leaders respond to westward expansion?

» Link

Topic Framing Questions
  •  How was religious freedom defined in the new republic?
  •  How did rationalists and evangelicals differ on the place of religion in a republic? How did they agree?
  •  How did diverse religious communities contribute to a shared national identity?
  •  How could church-state separation co-exist with the conviction that religion is critical to a nation's strength?

Toolbox: Living the Revolution: America, 1789-1820
Predicaments | Religion | Politics | Expansion | Equality

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