Religion in America  book cover
9th Edition

Religion in America

ISBN 9780815392606
Published March 21, 2018 by Routledge
624 Pages

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USD $115.00

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Book Description

This comprehensive narrative account of religion in America from the sixteenth century through the present depicts the religious life of the American people within the context of American society. It addresses topics ranging from the European origins of American religious thought and the diversity of religion in America, to the relation of nationhood with religious practice and the importance of race, ethnicity, and gender in American religious history. Split into four parts this textbook covers:

  • Religion in a Colonial Context, 1492-1789
  • The New Nation, 1789-1865
  • Years of Midpassage, 1865-1918
  • Modern America, 1918- Present

This new edition has been thoroughly updated to include further discussion of colonialism, religious minorities, space and empire, religious freedom, emotion, popular religion, sexuality, the ascent of the "nones," Islamophobia, and the development of an American mission to the world.

With a detailed timeline, illustrations and maps throughout, and an accompanying companion website Religion in America is the perfect introduction for students new to the study of this topic who wish to understand the key themes, places, and people who shaped the world as we know it today.

Table of Contents



Introduction: Land, People, and Nation

The Geography of the Nation

The Ethnography of the Nation

Religious Pluralism


Common Cause and Intolerance

Studying American Religious History

The Colonial Frame




Part 1 Religion in a Colonial Context, 1492-1789

Chapter One: Backgrounds and Beginnings

Native Peoples

A Distinctive Worldview

Belief and Performance

A myth of Purity and Decay

Catholic Missionaries

The Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent

Feelings of Enchantment

The Spanish Religious Interest

Old Spain and New Spain

"The Friars were watching"

French Missions and Institution’s

Religious Disagreements and the Problem of Organization

Catholicism in the St. Lawrence Valley

Institutional Support

Chapter Two: The Atlantic World

Protestant Predominance in the English Colonies

The Puritan Heritage

Religious Diversity

A New Beginning in a New Land

The Importance of the Laity

The Breakdown of the Parish System

The Possibility of Thoroughgoing Reform

The Sense of Expectancy

Religious Enemies

Religious Characteristics of the Different Colonies

The Southern Colonies

The New England Colonies

The Middle Colonies

The English-Speaking Denominations

The Anglicans

The Congregationalists

The Presbyterians

The Baptists

The Quakers

The Roman Catholics

Denominations of Continental Origin

The Dutch and the French Reformed

Mennonites, Dunkers and Moravians

The German Lutherans and the German Reformed

The Jews

Everyday Religious Belief and Practice

Chapter Three: The Great Awakening

Transatlantic Influences

The Transmission of Ritual Forms

Theological Change and Public Piety in New England

The First Stirrings of Revival

Theodore J. Frelinghuysen

The Tennents

Jonathan Edwards

The Great Awakening

"The Grand Itinerant"

The Mounting Opposition

The Southern Phase of the Awakening

The Impact of the Awakening

Institutional Consequences

The Theological Temper Generated by the Awakening

The Denominational Concept

Chapter Four: The Birth of the Republic

Religion and Politics

The Puritan Political Heritage

Fear of Anglican Expansion


The Winning of Independence

The Attitude of the Various Denominations

The Role of the Clergy

Religious Freedom

Separation of Church and State

African Traditions and Christianization

Part Two: The New Nation, 1789-1865

Chapter Five: The Republic and the Churches

The Mission of America

The Religion of the Republic

Church Religion

The Reordering of Denominational Life


Congregationalists, Presybterians, and Baptists

Methodists and "Christians"

Roman Catholics

Estimating the Influence of the Churches

Chapter Six: Protestant Expansion and Consolidation

The Second Awakening

Camp Meetings

New Measures

Roles for Women

Settler Colonialism, Race, and Religion

Missionary Societies

Voluntary Societies and a National Strategy

The Mood of the South

Overseas Missions

Chapter Seven: The Broadening of Denominational life

Unitarians and Universalists

The Emergence of African American Denominations

The Female Majority

Antebellum Roman Catholicism

Jewish Communities

Rationalists, Scientists and Transcendentalists

Migration to East to West

The Businessmen’s Revival


Chapter Eight: Visions of Religious Community

The Utopian Vision

The Shakers

The Oneida Community

Transcendentalism's "Wild Oats"

New Visions

The Mormons

The Millerites

The Spiritualists

The Humanitarian Impulse

The Expanding Concern

The Disruption of the Churches

Mediation and Conflict


Space and Empire

Part Three Years of Midpassage, 1865-1918

Chapter Nine: Post-Civil War America

Reconstituting the Nation

The Bond of Religion

The Failure of Reconstruction

The Southern Churches

The Churches and the Freedmen

The Growth of African American Churches

Renewal of Home Missionary Concern

Church Extension in the West

Native Americans and Christian Missions

Urban Revivalism

The Sunday School Movement

Chapter Ten: The New Americans

The Response of the Older Americans

Nativist Concerns

Protestant-Catholic Tensions

Protestant Ministries to the Immigrants

Adjustments and Tensions within Roman Catholicism

Institutional Developments


Other Immigrant Faiths and Accessions

Lutheran Accessions

Other Protestant Accessions

Judaism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity

Chapter Eleven: The New Intellectual Climate

Protestant Liberalism

The Fundamental Issue of Biblical Authority

Evangelical Liberalism

Scientific Modernism


Protestant Conservatism

New Departures

The Religion of Humanity

Wisdom from the East

Science, Religion, Health


Chapter Twelve: New Frontiers for the Churches

The Roles of Women and Men

Churchgoing Women

The Segregated Clergy

Social Reform

Religious Innovation

Masculinizing Religion

The Challenge of the Cities

New Techniques for City Churches

The Institutional Church

The Churches and the Economic Order

The Gospel of Wealth

The Feeling of Emptiness and Consumer Culture

Social Discontent

The Social Gospel

The "Progressive" Movement

Dollar Diplomacy and Religion

The Evangelization of the World

Part 4 Modern America, 1918

Chapter Thirteen: The Shifting Religious Configuration


Reform Judaism

The Great Immigration

Reconstructionism and Zionism

Jewish Religious Revivals at Mid-Century

Eastern Orthodox Christianity

The Orthodox Churches

Orthodoxy in America

"Disaffected" Protestants

The Holiness Movement



The Black Churches

Mid-Twentieth-Century Religious Profile


Chapter Fourteen: Protestant Transition and New Religions

The Transitional Years

The Postwar Generation

The Fundamentalist Controversy

The Business of Religion

Religions From Other Lands


African Americans and Islam



Resistance to Asian Religions

New Religious Movements

Chapter Fifteen: Resurgence, Reform, and Renewal

The Protestant Religious Resurgence of the Mid-Twentieth Century

Reform: African Americans and Social Justice

The Renewal of Roman Catholicism

The Aftermath of World War One

Increase in Numbers and Wealth

Changing Status of Catholics in American Life

Social Reform

Intellectual life

The Religious Revival

Interfaith Relationships

Evangelical Growth and Mainstream Protestant Decline

Chapter Sixteen: Congregations and Coalitions

The Religious Right

Dominion Theology

Roman Catholics: From Euphoria to Scandal

Euphoria and Vacillation



Hispanic Catholicism

The Scandal of Sexual Abuse

Religion and Identity

Hispanic Catholicism

The Decline of Judaism

Native Americans and the Land

Nature Religion, Holistic Living, and Healing

Chapter Seventeen: Moral Divisions: Religion After 9/11


Religious Freedom



Economy and Society: Three Religious Movements

WTO Protests


Black Lives Matter

The Nones


The Marketplace of Religion




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John Corrigan is Lucius Moody Bristol Distinguished Professor of Religion and Professor of History at Florida State University, USA. 


This edition updates an older classic, bringing together the strengths of different approaches to understanding the history of religion in America, maintaining a vigorous narrative throughout, and incorporating the newest research in diverse religious groups. An ideal text for courses in American religious history. Paul Harvey, University of Colorado, USA

For decades, Religion in America by John Corrigan and Winthrop Hudson has been a classic. This new edition is the best yet. Not only is this book an authoritative history, it is also an excellent guide to the diverse and conflicted marketplace of religion in America today. Religion in America brings the American religious past and present into dialog better than any other book available. James P. Byrd, Vanderbilt University, USA. 

In the 9th edition of the classic text, Religion in America, Corrigan continues the tradition started with the publication of the early editions by his late co-author, Winthrop Hudson, over fifty years ago. This work provides an informative, comprehensive, readable, and balanced religious history of the United States from colonial times to the present. In each succeeding revision by Professor Corrigan he has over the years succeeded in making appropriate improvements upon the previous solid text. For close to 30 years I have utilized Religion in Americaas a main text in my American Religious History classes and look forward to having students read this fine ninth edition. Sandy D. Martin, The University of Georgia, USA.