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Freethinkers: A History of American Secularismby Susan Jacoby
Synopses & Reviews
An authoritative history of the vital role of secularist thinkers and activists in the United States, from a writer of fierce intelligence and nimble, unfettered imagination (The New York Times)
At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage that gave Americans the first government in the world founded not on the authority of religion but on the bedrock of human reason.
In impassioned, elegant prose, celebrated author Susan Jacoby paints a striking portrait of more than two hundred years of secularist activism, beginning with the fierce debate over the omission of God from the Constitution. Moving from nineteenth-century abolitionism and suffragism through the twentieth century's civil liberties, civil rights, and feminist movements, Freethinkers illuminates the neglected accomplishments of secularists who, allied with liberal and tolerant religious believers, have stood at the forefront of the battle for reforms opposed by reactionary forces in the past and today.
Rich with such iconic figures as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Clarence Darrow--as well as once-famous secularists such as Robert Green Ingersoll, the Great Agnostic--Freethinkers restores to history generations of dedicated humanists. It is they, Jacoby shows, who have led the struggle to uphold the combination of secular government and religious liberty that is the glory of the American system.
The author of Wild Justice chronicles two centuries of "secularism" in America, exploring this rich thread in American life and history and speculating on its continual role in society. Reprint. 35,000 first printing.
"Jacoby accomplishes her task with clarity, thoroughness, and an engaging passion."
-Los Angeles Times Book Review
At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage that gave Americans the first government in the world founded not on the
About the Author
Susan Jacoby is the author of five books including Wild Justice, a Pulitzer Prize finalist. A contributor to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsday, and Vogue, she lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Revolutionary secularism — The age of reason and unreason — Lost connections: anticlericalism, abolitionism, and feminism — The belief and unbelief of Abraham Lincoln — Evolution and its discontents — The great agnostic and the golden age of freethought — Dawn of the culture wars — Unholy trinity: Atheists, Reds, Darwinists — Onward, Christian soldiers — The best years of our lives — Culture wars redux — Reason embattled.
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History and Social Science » Politics » General