Episode 311: Religion and the American Revolution

Investigations of the American Revolution often include explorations of politics, ideology, trade and taxation, imperial control, and social strife. What about religion? What role did religion play in the American Revolution?

Katherine Carté, an Associate Professor of History at Southern Methodist University and the author of Religion and the American Revolution: An Imperial History, joins us to investigate the role of religion in the American Revolution.

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Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.

Episode Summary

Katherine Carté, an Associate Professor of History at Southern Methodist University and the author of Religion and the American Revolution: An Imperial History, leads us on an investigation of the role religion played in the American Revolution.

During our investigation, Kate reveals the role Protestant religion played in the British Empire form the seventeenth century through the American Revolution; Competition and cooperation among the British Empire’s three privileged Protestant denominations, Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, and Congregationalism; And, details about the role and impact of religion during the American Revolution and the founding of the new United States.

What You’ll Discover

  • Imperial histories
  • Religion and the British Empire
  • Three-church religious structure of British North America
  • Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, Congregationalism
  • Privileged religions of the British Empire
  • England and Great Britain as a Protestant Empire
  • Missionary work of British Protestants
  • Competition between imperially privileged religions
  • Status of North American religion by the eve of the American Revolution
  • The Great Awakening
  • North American Anglican Bishop Controversy
  • How the Bishop Controversy fit in with the American Revolution
  • Religion as a tool to think through the American Revolution
  • The role of clergy in the American Revolution
  • Decisions of Anglican clergy in the Revolution
  • Franco-American Alliance and religion
  • Debates around the Franco-American alliance on religious grounds
  • Religion and the new American republic
  • Separation of church and state

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In your opinion, what might have happened if early Americans had not chosen to collapse the realms of religion and government in the United States? What might the history of the early United States look like without this collapse?

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