Redeeming a Nation: Religious Conceptions of Union in the Atlantic World in the Wake of the American Revolution
How did religious thought influence processes like the democratization of politics, the centralization of federal power, and the unification of civic allegiance? This paper examines how religious contexts structured the debates that led to and descended from the Constitutional Convention, and places them within a broader Atlantic context. For many, these transformations were guided by religious notions of how societies functioned and rights were enacted. I examine how that dynamic played out regarding constitutional power at the state and federal levels. My study uses a range of individuals and genres, including fast and thanksgiving sermons written to explicate the role of religion in reconceptualizing citizenship and political belonging. At the heart of these texts lay a tension over how diverse populations struggled to imagine a united community, one worthy of divine approval and further progress in an age of revolution.
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