Christian Nation?
The United States in Popular Perception and Historical Reality
by T. Adams Upchurch
May 2010, 198pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38642-8
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38643-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

In 2009, President Barack Obama stated that the United States was most definitely not a “Christian Nation.” In 1797, a representative of the John Adams administration proclaimed the same thing in the Treaty of Tripoli. Is there, or has there ever been, a definitive answer to this most basic—and perennially controversial—question?

This fascinating study examines America's complex and confusing history of arguing with itself over religion and secularism, God and politics, church and state.

Hundreds of books are devoted to the ever-timely subject of the separation of church and state in America, but none does exactly what Christian Nation?: The United States in Popular Perception and Historical Reality does. Unlike other studies, this intriguing examination asks the right questions, defines the terms of the debate, explores the widely diverging points of view with equal respect for all sides, and provides insightful commentary and factual conclusions that cut through the clutter.

The book begins with several questions: Is the United States a “Christian Nation?” Has it ever been? Was it ever meant to be? What did the Founding Fathers say? How has this issue been interpreted by various individuals and factions over the centuries? The author then surveys the vast literature on this topic, including the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence and the competing and/or complimentary views of various Founding Fathers to arrive at the answers—and, at long last, the truth.

T. Adams Upchurch is associate professor of history at East Georgia College in Statesboro, GA. His published works include written Legislating Racism: The Billion Dollar Congress and the Birth of Jim Crow, Race Relations in the United States, 1960-1980, and Historical Dictionary of the Gilded Age.
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