Typical histories of the United States talk about the American Revolution as if the only issues were secular or economic, such as offensive regulations or taxation without representation. But religion was also crucial, as demonstrated by this collection of lectures that were delivered in conjunction with the Library of Congress exhibition Religion and the Founding of the American Republic.
When Brigham Young University hosted the exhibition, scholars and religious leaders from various faiths delivered lectures giving perspectives on religious liberty in the early years of the United States. These lectures elucidate timely church and state issues by examining:
- The Founders' vision of religious liberty
- The impact of the English Revolution on the Founders' ideals
- The use of the Bible in early American capital law
- John Milton's influence on American patriots
- Thomas Jefferson's thoughts on church and state
- How the Founders saw themselves as children of Israel
- How non-Protestants were treated in the early American Republic, and
- How persecuted religious minorities helped settle America's interior.
"This collection . . . celebrates the visit to BYU of a special collection of important documents that speaks to a very particular and underappreciated aspect of American life past and present. . . . These essays advance the important point that religious issues were significant at numerous points in the framing of religion's place in America."
—John F. Wilson, Princeton University