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    • May 2009
    • 9780231143332
  • 528 Pages
  • Paperback
  • $36.00
  • / £25.00


    • May 2009
    • 9780231143325
  • 528 Pages
  • Hardcover
  • $110.00
  • / £76.00


    • May 2009
    • 9780231518574
  • 528 Pages
  • E-book
  • $35.99
  • / £25.00

Religion and the American Presidency

George Washington to George W. Bush with Commentary and Primary Sources

Edited by Gaston Espinosa

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.

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.

This interesting book balances presidential professions of faith with acknowledgment of private sins and the objections of nonbelievers to explicit religious demonstrations in public life.

Rich Barlow

Among its strengths is the inclusion of a considerable amount of newsworthy material for the thirteen presidents whose religious views are examined.

Al Menendez

Immediately, one can imagine the value of this book in attempts to teach undergraduates something about religion and politics in American history.

PrefaceIntroductionChapter 1. Religion and the Presidency of George Washington, by Daniel L. Dreisbach and Jeffry H. MorrisonReligious Writings of George WashingtonChapter 2. Religion and the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson, by Thomas E. BuckleyReligious Writings of Thomas JeffersonChapter 3. Religion and the Presidency of James Madison, by Garrett Ward SheldonReligious Writings of James MadisonChapter 4. Religion and the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, by Andrew R. MurphyReligious Writings of Abraham LincolnChapter 5. Religion and the Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, by Gary Scott SmithReligious Writings of Franklin Delano RooseveltChapter 6. Religion and the Presidency of Harry S. Truman, by Elizabeth Edwards SpaldingReligious Writings of Harry S. TrumanChapter 7. Religion and the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, by Jerry BergmanReligious Writings of Dwight D. EisenhowerChapter 8. Religion and the Presidency of John F. Kennedy, by Thomas J. CartyReligious Writings of John F. KennedyChapter 9. Religion and the Presidency of Jimmy Carter, by Kenneth E. MorrisReligious Writings of Jimmy CarterChapter 10. Religion and the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, by Paul KengorReligious Writings of Ronald ReaganChapter 11. Religion and the Presidency of George H. W. Bush, by Kjell O. LejonReligious Writings of George H. W. BushChapter 12. Religion and the Presidency of William Jefferson Clinton, by Gastón EspinosaReligious Writings of William Jefferson ClintonChapter 13. Religion and the Presidency of George W. Bush, by David AikmanReligious Writings of George W. BushConclusionList of ContributorsIndex