TeacherServe Essays

Religion and the American Revolution

Author: Heyrman, Christine Leigh (NHC Fellow, 1985–86)

Teaching the American Revolution presents a prime opportunity to instruct your students in the ways that religion shaped the American past. Most people today think of the War for Independence as a purely secular event, a chapter in political, constitutional, military, and diplomatic history. They envision an initial resistance to the British empire triggered mainly by constitutional objections to taxation without representation; a colonial war of liberation won by a timely alliance with the French and the inspired strategies of Nathanael Greene and George Washington in the South; and, finally, republican governments at both the state and national levels being set in place by founding fathers whose most absorbing concerns were political rather than religious.

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Subjects: History; Education Studies; American History; American Revolution; Christianity; First Great Awakening; Thirteen Colonies