Synopses & Reviews
In this pathbreaking study, colonial historian Patricia Bonomi argues that religion was as instrumental as either politics or the economy in shaping early American life and values. Looking at the middle and southern colonies as well as at Puritan New England, Bonomi finds an abundance of religious vitality throughout the colonial years among clergy and churchgoers of diverse religious backgrounds. The book focuses on 18th-century religious activity, when churches stabilized and extended their influence to all parts of the colonies, and examines the everyday life of the clergy, the tension between religious competition and religious toleration, and the attitudes and practices of churchgoers from every rank and region. The book also explores the tightening relationship between religion and politics--especially evident in the schisms of the Great Awakening, the growth of denominational factions, and the emergence of an "ideology of dissent"--and illuminates the vital role religion played in the American Revolution. Written with grace and style, Under the Cope of Heaven presents a stimulating new perspective on the formative era of American religious culture.
"An excellent contribution to the social history of colonial religion. With great skill she weaves a narrative that demonstrates the inextricable relation between religion and politics in the colonies. I heartily recommend it, and look forward to using it for many years to come in the classroom."--Mark S. Cladis, Vassar College
"A good succinct study of the relation of politics and religion throughout the colonial period. Especially useful as a summary accessible to udergraduate history majors."--R.K. Donovan, Kansas State University
"[A] timely and thoughtful book."--New Republic
"A splendid overview of the topic of religion in the colonial period. The book is gracefully and economically written, provocative yet respectful of opposing views....Goes far toward providing a genuinely balanced account of the role of religion in the formation of the American mind."--William and Mary Quarterly
"Her depth of scholarship and documentation will please the scholar; her relation of her topic to American history in general will please the generalist, student or lay person; and her graceful writing style will endear her to all. The book is highly recommended."--History
Bibliography: p. 223-279.