Cover

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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-4

Copyright

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pp. 5-5

Contents

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pp. v-7

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Introduction: Remaking Religion

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pp. 1-17

James Ross thought Christianity was for the dogs. After all, he had mockingly administered the Lord’s Supper to several furry, four-legged communicants. At least these were the rumors about the Federalist candidate for governor of Pennsylvania in 1808. The state’s Republicans spread this story throughout Pennsylvania...

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1. Boundaries

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pp. 18-44

Writing constitutions and creating governments were among the most important political acts of independence undertaken by citizens in the new United States. Ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788 wrought fundamental changes to the scope and power of the country’s federal government, and by the early 1790s, many states had...

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2. America's Deist Future

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pp. 45-76

Throughout the late eighteenth century, believers in the Anglo-Protestant world wrote and thought about Christianity’s future with renewed urgency. The era’s political changes inspired broad speculation about religious events yet to come. Ministers and theologians prophesied Christ’s return with scholarly precision...

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3. Citizen Deists

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pp. 77-109

Throughout the 1790s, questions surrounding national citizenship in the United States were addressed in several settings. This occurred in the courts, in state and federal governments, and in the larger society. When Americans expressed basic understandings of national citizenship, they often did so in relationship...

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4. Partisan Religious Truths

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pp. 110-141

Autumn 1800 was a season of severe partisanship in the United States. The looming presidential election spurred Republican attacks on the monarchical ambitions of John Adams and his Federalist administration. Federalists responded by defending themselves as the true protectors of American republicanism against Jacobin...

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5. America's Deist Past

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pp. 142-170

In 1860 George Peck, a Methodist minister in Scranton, Pennsylvania, recounted his denomination’s growth in the Genesee Conference, which encompassed northern Pennsylvania, central and western New York, and neighboring areas of Canada. Peck committed several pages of his confidently titled chapter...

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6. Free Enquiry

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pp. 171-201

In 1830, a tract titled Prossimo’s Experience appeared in New York City. Similar to countless tracts that circulated in the early republic, Prossimo’s Experience was a small, twelve-page, patently ephemeral pamphlet intended for cheap distribution. Although it looked like a product of America’s evangelical publishers, it contained...

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7. Political Religion, Political Irreligion

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pp. 202-236

Of the many July Fourth orations delivered in the summer of 1827, two expressed in clear detail how free enquirers and evangelical polemicists understood their civic duties and their political challenges. Robert L. Jennings delivered an oration before an audience of roughly sixty self-proclaimed deists and free...

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Epilogue: The Origins of American Cultural Politics

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pp. 237-241

Hubbard Winslow was pastor at Boston’s Bowdoin Street Church and a committed Whig in politics. Massachusetts ended its state religious establishment in 1833. Judging by Winslow’s 1835 treatise, Christianity Applied to our Civil and Social Relations, disestablishment was entirely for the better. Winslow had clearly absorbed...

Notes

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pp. 243-282

Index

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pp. 283-291

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 293-295

Writing this book, much like its subject, has involved belief and confidence but also doubts and skepticism. I’ll take the liberty of leaving the latter two mostly unacknowledged. The idea for this book originated in conversations with Jeff Pasley and John Wigger that sparked...