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Faith of the Founders: Religion and the New Nation, 1776–1826
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Faith of the Founders: Religion and the New Nation, 1776–1826


Baylor University Press 2011

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


In the critically lauded Faith of the Founders, revered historian Edwin Gaustad provides a careful consideration of the developing relationship between religion and government after the American Revolution. With a focus on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and John Adams, Gaustad identifies the seven varying—and sometimes contradictory—perspectives on religion that guided the nation’s founders. Faith of the Founders: Religion and the New Nation, 1776–1826 masterfully shows how these figures possessed an intuitive understanding of religion that helped nourish a young country. Repackaged for a new generation of readers and with a new foreword by Randall Balmer, this brief but insightful book offers a look into the Founding Fathers’ genius—and points to a way forward through the ideological boundaries that threaten to upend the daily doings of American government today.

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Key Features

  • Analyzes the relationship between the state and religion in postrevolutionary America
  • Provides two appendixes containing important documents and declarations pertinent to religion
  • Also includes notes, an index, and a list of illustrations


  • An Introduction
  • The Colonies and Their Churches
  • The Libertarians: Jefferson and Madison
  • The Icons: Franklin and Washington
  • The Philosophers: Adams and Jefferson
  • The Churches and the People
  • Epilogue

Praise for the Print Edition

As clear and serene a guide to the mixture of religious and political events at the time of the nation’s founding as we are likely to get.

Catholic Historical Review

Historically informative and as relevant as today’s headlines. The author brings to these sensitive chapters all the wisdom and sophistication that have marked him as a premier historian of the American religious experience.

Religious Studies Review

Gaustad reminds us of the genius behind the founders’ formulations regarding the relationship between church and state. Faith of the Founders is the best summary available of the social, political, and intellectual context that surrounded the crafting of our charter documents.

—Randall Balmer, professor of American religious history, Columbia University

Product Details

  • Title: Faith of the Founders: Religion and the New Nation, 1776–1826
  • Author: Edwin S. Gaustad
  • Publisher: Baylor University Press
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 180

About Edwin S. Gaustad

Edwin S. Gaustad is an emeritus professor of history and religious studies at the University of California. He is a noted church historian and the author of over a dozen books.