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For most of the eighteenth century, British protestantism was driven neither by the primacy of denominations nor by fundamental discord between them. Instead, it thrived as part of a complex transatlantic system that bound religious institutions to imperial politics. As Katherine Carte argues, British imperial protestantism proved remarkably effective in advancing both the interests of empire and the cause of religion until the war for American independence disrupted it. That revolution forced a reassessment of the role of religion in public life on both sides of the Atlantic. Religious communities struggled to reorganize within and across new national borders. Religious leaders recalibrated their relationships to government.
Religion and the American Revolution: An Imperial History (University of North Carolina Press and Omohundro Institute, 2021) is a nuanced and deeply researched examination of the religious "scaffolding" of the British empire and it offers a fresh perspective on the role of religion in the American Revolution.
Lane Davis is a doctoral candidate in the Graduate Program in Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University where he studies American religious history. Find him on Twitter @TheeLaneDavis.
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