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The Influence of the Protestant Religion on the American Revolution

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The origins, aims and course of the American Revolution were

influenced by a number of factors. The causes of the American

Revolution have been put down to economic, social and political

factors, which have then continued to influence the course and finally

the outcome of America's conflict with Britain. Economic factors

concerning trade and slavery have been put down to being part of the

cause of the American Revolution. Yet historians have often debated

the influence that Protestantism had on the revolution. The majority

of the population of the colonies were Puritan but there were various

diverse angles of religion. The two largest churches were the

Presbyterians and the Congregationalists, but the colonies were also

made up of many other faiths such as Anglicans, Baptists or pacifist

groups such as Quakers. Religion was a very important part of colonial

life and the colonists were much more concerned with religious aspects

than political controversy. Yet although religion played a major part

of the colonists' lives, it actual affect on the American Revolution

itself is debatable: "Religion was present in the revolution,

considered in a restricted framework; it was thoroughly engaged by it

and multi-faceted. It is difficult to make the case, however, that

religious ingredients - even broadly defined- played a definitive or

even markedly innovative role."[1] John F. Wilson acknowledges that

religion did have an affect on the revolution but also argues that

perhaps Protestantism had a lesser affect on the revolution as a whole

than other factors such as economic aspects.

Some historians have attributed the Great Awakening to be on...

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Edward Countryman, The American Revolution (Penguin Books Ltd) 1985.

Jack P. Green and J. R. Pole, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, (Blackwell Publishers) 1991.

J.C.D Clark, The Language of Liberty 1660-1832 (University of Cambridge) 1994.

Alfred F. Young, The American Revolution: Explorations in the History of American Radicalism, (Northern Illinois University Press) 1976.

Robert A. Gross, The Minutemen and their World, (Hill and Wang) 1976.

Websites and Journals

Jerald C. Brauer, Protestantism in America: A Narrative History (Chapter 4- "Religion and Revolution)

http://www.religion-online.org/cgi-bin/relsearchd.dll/showchapter?chapter_id=1968

John F. Wilson, Religion and Revolution in American History, "Journal of Interdisciplinary History," Vol. 23, No. 3, Religion and History. (Winter, 1993), pp. 597-613.
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