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America's GodFrom Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln$
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Mark A. Noll

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195151114

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195151119.001.0001

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Christian Republicanism

Christian Republicanism

(p.73) 5 Christian Republicanism
America's God

Mark A. Noll (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

By the early 1800s, the language of republicanism was ubiquitous throughout American Christianity. Prior to 1740 or so, however, traditional Christians mostly opposed republicanism. Revivalists like George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards often interjected the language of liberty into their sermons, but they used this rhetoric for mostly spiritual purposes. War with France during the 1750s and the series of disputes with Britain during the 1760s that led to war, however, accelerated the integration of republican political philosophy and Christian thought. At the same time, Americans embraced the concept of “virtue,” an amorphous term that took on a variety of sometimes conflicted meanings, as their way of maintaining a healthy society protected from “slavery” and “tyranny.”

Keywords:   Jonathan Edwards, Tom Paine, republicanism, slavery, virtue, George Whitefield

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