Christian Origins of the American Century

In my continued to attempt to offer the best AHA coverage on the web, I want to point you to Ray Haberski‘s U.S. Intellectual History review of a panel on religion and the American century.  Here is a taste:

I attended an excellent panel Friday morning (at 8:30) entitled “Christian Origins of the American Century,” chaired by MSU’s Malcolm Magee and commented on by Andrew Preston of Cambridge.  The panelists were all very strong and young and well-spoken.  In short, the panel was a great success.  I want to give a brief review of it because the panel demonstrates, as Preston observed, all the great work that has been done religion and American foreign policy, and the great amount of work still needed to be done. 

The panel’s creator was a Cara Burnidge, who is working on a book that deals with how World War I and the debate over the League of Nations offered Protestants opportunities to establish specific religious positions on the role the United States would play after the war.  Among the most interesting insights Burnidge offered was the battle over the kinds of Biblicism Protestant church leaders, and leading politicians such at Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson brought to bear on competing visions of an American foreign policy.  In short, each historical actor believed that the war and the fight over the League revealed who had a “true” vision of Christianity.  Burnidge emphasized that this battle took place well-before historians typically peg the schism in evangelical and fundamentalist thought–the Scopes Trial is at least five years after the debates over the League take place.  And so she sees clear signs of a fracturing among Protestants over international affairs before domestic events take center stage.

Read the rest here

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