Religion in America: The Basics: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Religion in America: The Basics

1st Edition

By Michael Pasquier


160 pages

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Religion in America: The Basics is a concise introduction to the historical development of religions in the United States. It is an invitation to explore the complex tapestry of religious beliefs and practices that shaped life in North America from the colonial encounters of the fifteenth century to the culture wars of the twenty-first century. Far from a people unified around a common understanding of Christianity, Religion in America: The Basics tracks the steady diversification of the American religious landscape and the many religious conflicts that changed American society. At the same time, it explores how Americans from a variety of religious backgrounds worked together to face the challenges of racism, poverty, war, and other social concerns. Because no single survey can ever satisfy the need to know more and think differently, Religion in America prepares readers to continue studying American religions with their own questions and perspectives in mind.


"In seeking to introduce students to religion in America, this book skilfully navigates its way through a remarkable variety of people, institutions, events, and traditions over a short number of pages. Throughout, the writing is crisp, conversational, and sharp."

- Paul Harvey, University of Colorado, USA

"If there is one short book I would recommend to give everyone ‘a running start’ into religious literacy, this is it. Pasquier combines vanguard scholarship, easy reading, and new framing (starting with W.E.B. DuBois and ending with Bill Gates) to introduce readers to the people and histories behind the headlines of U.S. religion. Given how often American religion makes global news, we really need this book."

- Julie Byrne, Hofstra University, USA

Pasquier’s book hits on all the major trends in American religious history, retelling in slightly condensed form the narrative familiar from many other textbooks focused on religion in America, but with a refreshing highlighting of African Americans and women. As such it makes a wonderful jumping off point for a scholar of religion in America wishing to explore any number of these people, events, or movements in more depth."

- Erica Hurwitz Andrus, University of Vermont, Burlington

Table of Contents

1. Introduction. 2. The History and Memory of Religion in America. 3. Religion and Colonialism in Early America, 1400s to 1770s. 4. Religion in a New Nation, 1770s to 1860s. 5. Religion in a Modernizing America, 1860s to 1920s. 6. Religious Diversity in a Globalizing America, 1920s to 2010s. 7. Concusion. Index.

About the Author

Michael Pasquier is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Louisiana State University. His work on the history of religion in America has been supported by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About the Series

The Basics

The Basics is a highly successful series of accessible guidebooks which provide an overview of the fundamental principles of a subject area in a jargon-free and undaunting format.

Intended for students approaching a subject for the first time, the books both introduce the essentials of a subject and provide an ideal springboard for further study. With over 50 titles spanning subjects from Artificial Intelligence to Women’s Studies, The Basics are an ideal starting point for students seeking to understand a subject area.

Each text comes with recommendations for further study and gradually introduces the complexities and nuances within a subject.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General