Book Details

Google preview button
    • May 2009
    • 9780231143332
  • 528 Pages
  • 71 illus.

  • Paperback
  • $37.00
  • / £25.50

ADD TO CART

    • May 2009
    • 9780231143325
  • 528 Pages
  • 71 illus.

  • Hardcover
  • $110.00
  • / £76.00

ADD TO CART

    • May 2009
    • 9780231518574
  • 528 Pages
  • 71 illus.

  • E-book
  • $36.99
  • / £25.50

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, Boston Globe

"Among its strengths is the inclusion of a considerable amount of newsworthy material for the thirteen presidents whose religious views are examined." — Al Menendez, Voice of Reason

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

"Religion and the American Presidency shatters the myth that presidents, somehow, can place their religiosity aside and objectively deal with domestic and foreign issues." — Miguel de la Torre, Iliff School of Theology

"By itself, this collection could serve as the basis for a course. The combination of analytical essays on thirteen presidents plus excerpts from their writings about religion gives students all they need to delve into the heart of this tangled, enduring issue. Gaston Espinosa's long introduction lays out the issues and provides a wealth of information. An extremely useful book." — Richard Bushman, Gouverneur Morris Professor of History emeritus, Columbia University, and winner of the Bancroft Prize in American History

"A wonderful collection of careful examinations of religion's influence in different presidencies over the course of our country's history. The volume is unique in its breadth of coverage and the nuance of its argumentation, revealing how different presidents have chartered a path between strict separation and wholesale accommodation, all the while seeking to be faithful to the separation of church and state and mapping out new territory by revealing how religion was a much more important factor in a number of administrations that have been conventionally viewed as being largely devoid of religious influences." — Corwin Smidt, director, Paul Henry Institute of Christianity and Politics, Calvin College

"This book is a valuable and an important contribution to scholars and students of religion, the presidency, and American politics." — Laura Olson, professor of political science, Clemson University, coauthor of Religion and Politics in America

"This path-breaking study examines the influence of religion on presidential politics. It blends the best available scholarship with an excellent collection of sources." — Denis Lacorne, professor of political science, Institut d'Etudes Politiques, Paris, France

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.

Preface
Introduction
Chapter 1. Religion and the Presidency of George Washington, by Daniel L. Dreisbach and Jeffry H. Morrison
Religious Writings of George Washington
Chapter 2. Religion and the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson, by Thomas E. Buckley
Religious Writings of Thomas Jefferson
Chapter 3. Religion and the Presidency of James Madison, by Garrett Ward Sheldon
Religious Writings of James Madison
Chapter 4. Religion and the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, by Andrew R. Murphy
Religious Writings of Abraham Lincoln
Chapter 5. Religion and the Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, by Gary Scott Smith
Religious Writings of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Chapter 6. Religion and the Presidency of Harry S. Truman, by Elizabeth Edwards Spalding
Religious Writings of Harry S. Truman
Chapter 7. Religion and the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, by Jerry Bergman
Religious Writings of Dwight D. Eisenhower
Chapter 8. Religion and the Presidency of John F. Kennedy, by Thomas J. Carty
Religious Writings of John F. Kennedy
Chapter 9. Religion and the Presidency of Jimmy Carter, by Kenneth E. Morris
Religious Writings of Jimmy Carter
Chapter 10. Religion and the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, by Paul Kengor
Religious Writings of Ronald Reagan
Chapter 11. Religion and the Presidency of George H. W. Bush, by Kjell O. Lejon
Religious Writings of George H. W. Bush
Chapter 12. Religion and the Presidency of William Jefferson Clinton, by Gastón Espinosa
Religious Writings of William Jefferson Clinton
Chapter 13. Religion and the Presidency of George W. Bush, by David Aikman
Religious Writings of George W. Bush
Conclusion
List of Contributors
Index

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.

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.

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.

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.