*Was America Founded as a Christian Nation* Is Being Assigned Alongside These Books

keep-calm-it-s-on-the-syllabusAre you familiar with the Open Syllabus Project? The creators describe it in today’s New York Times.  Here is a taste:

…Over the past two years, we and our partners at the Open Syllabus Project (based at the American Assembly at Columbia) have collected more than a million syllabuses from university websites. We have also begun to extract some of their key components — their metadata — starting with their dates, their schools, their fields of study and the texts that they assign.

This past week, we made available online a beta version of our Syllabus Explorer, which allows this database to be searched. Our hope and expectation is that this tool will enable people to learn new things about teaching, publishing and intellectual history.

At present, the Syllabus Explorer is mostly a tool for counting how often texts are assigned over the past decade. There is something for everyone here. The traditional Western canon dominates the top 100, with Plato’s “Republic” at No. 2, “The Communist Manifesto” at No. 3, and “Frankenstein” at No. 5, followed by Aristotle’s “Ethics,” Hobbes’s “Leviathan,” Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” “Oedipus” and “Hamlet.”

I thought it would be fun to see what books are being assigned alongside Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction on college syllabi across the country.

Here are some of them:

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

Woody Holton, Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution

Jack Rakove, The Beginnings of National Politics: An Intepretive History of the Continental Congress

Mark Noll, The Civil War as a Theological Crisis

Sylvia Frey, Water from the Rock: Black Resistance in a Revolutionary Age

Jon Butler, Becoming America: The Revolution Before 1776

Gary Nash, The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America

Frank Lambert, The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America

Daniel Driesbach, Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State

Jack Greene, The American Revolution

Linda Kerber, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America

Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

T.H. Breen, The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence

Lance Banning, The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the Founding of the Federal Republic

Thomas Kidd, God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution

David McCullough, John Adams

Elizabeth Fenn, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82

Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man

Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution

John Shy, A People Armed and Numerous: Reflections on the Military Struggle for American Independence

Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region

Gordon Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution

Saul Cornell, The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism and the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788-1828

Joyce Appleby, Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans

3 thoughts on “*Was America Founded as a Christian Nation* Is Being Assigned Alongside These Books

  1. One more thing. You will note that my book seems to be used in courses on the American Revolution, American religious history, or general American history courses. Barton’s book is being used in courses on Christian apologetics. Barton’s “Original Intent” appears on syllabi with people like Hugh Ross, Josh McDowell, Ravi Zacharias, Michael Novak, Alister McGrath, Norm Geisler, etc….


  2. I noted that David Barton’s books do not score well here. I wouldn’t expect for Barton to appear on the syllabi at moderate evangelical schools like Messiah et al. But it’s surprising that his works aren’t taught at more stridently conservative evangelical schools.


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