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Religion and the American Presidency: George Washington to George W. Bush with Commentary and Primary Sources

Edited by Gaston Espinosa

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Paper, 528 pages, 71 illus.
ISBN: 978-0-231-14333-2
$36.00 / £25.00

May, 2009
Cloth, 528 pages, 71 illus.
ISBN: 978-0-231-14332-5
$110.00 / £76.00

This book challenges the idea that the mixing of religion and presidential politics is a new phenomenon. It explores how presidents have drawn on their religious upbringing, rhetoric, ideas, and beliefs to promote their domestic and foreign policies to the nation. This influence is evident in Washington's decision to add "so help me God" to the presidential oath, accusations by Adam's supporters that Jefferson was an infidel, Lincoln's biblical metaphors during the Civil War, and FDR's call to fight against Nazi totalitarianism on behalf of Judeo-Christian civilization. It is also apparent in Truman's support for Israel, Eisenhower's Cold War decision to add "In God We Trust" on American currency, the debate over JFK's Catholicism, Jimmy Carter's born-again Christianity, Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech, Clinton's public repentance, and George W. Bush's "crusade" against Islamic terrorists.

This volume explores these issues of religion and power in the presidencies of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush through scholarly interpretations, primary sources, and illustrations.

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About the Author

Gastón Espinosa is associate professor of religious studies at Claremont McKenna College. His books include Latino Religions and Civic Activism in the United States and Mexican American Religions: Spirituality, Activism, and Culture. He is the editor of the Columbia University Press Series on Religion and Politics.

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