Abstract and Keywords
This article surveys the intersection of religion and politics in America from the colonial era to the present, with a particular focus on the controversies surrounding religiously inspired political causes during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The article argues that religion (and, in particular, Protestantism and Catholic Christianity) has always played a central role in American politics, and that religious ideologies have inspired both liberal and conservative political movements. In the colonial era and the early American republic, controversies over religion focused primarily on disputes about church establishment and religious liberty, but in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, controversies over religion and politics increasingly centered on debates over religiously inspired moral regulation. Whether the issue was the abolition of slavery in the nineteenth century or regulation of abortion in recent decades, America’s culture wars were usually political contests between competing sets of religiously inspired arguments.
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