God's Kingdom in the American Republic: New Studies in Region, Religion, and Revolution
Our panel reconsiders these interactions through a set of case studies that stretches from Boston Anglicans to Chesapeake evangelicals. Moving from the “lived religion” of edited prayer books to the thorny incorporation of church authority, we end with a fuller analysis of the Christian “vision” imprinted in constitutional law and contested by clergy. First, Sara Georgini explores the evolving role and content of prayer books in the years leading up to separation from Britain, by showing how colonists (literally) marginalized the king and deleted most communal rites celebrating the principle of “divine” monarchy. Next, Roy Rogers parses the local consequences of the new republic’s political economy, by outlining the complex and understudied process of parishes’ incorporation in Virginia and Maryland. Finally, Benjamin Park examines the political theologies underpinning the main arguments launched in favor of central, federal authority and how they played out in local and transatlantic contexts. We hope to continue the conversation on how citizens chose to embed their “Christianities” in letters and law, once the Revolution’s fervor passed. We reconsider how their new prayers, business models, and constitutional drafts served to reshape religious identity within widening frameworks of local and national experience. Sam Haselby, whose scholarship on the origins and outcomes of American Christianity and nationalism has guided our work, will serve as commentator and chair.