Summary Of Nathan Hatch's The Democratization Of American Christianity

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The connection between religion and everyday life in the early United States has, at times, been a contentious field of study. Questions about how various churches and faiths developed in conjunction with the revolution, governmental authority, and enlightenment ideology have been examined from multiple angles. Of particular interest has been the spread of evangelical denominations during the first great awakening, during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth Centuries. This essay will examine two books that present very different viewpoints on the nature of that history, Nathan Hatch’s book, The Democratization of American Christianity (Yale University, 1989), and Conceived In Doubt: Religion and Politics in the New American Nation (University of Chicago …show more content…
In this foundational work, Hatch finds that the rise of evangelical religious movements was directly related to the American Revolution and the language of popular sovereignty. Hatch argues, quite directly that “the theme of democratization is central to understanding the development of American Christianity.” (Hatch p. …show more content…
This book not only exhorted another change in the structures of political power but a complete rejection of religion. Despite all his ideological contributions Paine was often seen as a low class rabble rouser and the release of Age of Reason unified his political and spiritual critics in a successful attempt to discredit his ideas entirely. As the author explains, “through its effect on politics and religion, rejection of Paine’s Age of Reason contributed to a new kind of symbiosis between the two.” (Porterfield

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