Was the early United States a “Christian nation?” Did most of its citizenry accept God and the Bible as the moral authority that bound them together as one nation?
Scholars have taken a binary stance on these questions. Some argue that early America was a thoroughly religious place and that even those who didn’t attend church were on the same basic page as those who did. While others argue early America boasted an increasingly secularized society.
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History Christopher Grasso, a professor of history at William & Mary and the author of Skepticism and American Faith: From the Revolution to the Civil War (Oxford University Press, 2018), challenges and complicates these two ideas by offering a third explanation: the religious landscape of early America was a continuum where many people experienced both faith and doubt over the course of their lives. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/214
Ben Franklin’s World is an award-winning podcast. It’s 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 world. Each episode features an interview with an historian who shares their unique insights into our early American past. It is a production of the Omohundro Institute.