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America: A Sketch of the Political, Social, and Religious Character of the United States
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America: A Sketch of the Political, Social, and Religious Character of the United States


C. Scribner 1855

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


Many European thinkers wrote observations of America during the first half of the eighteenth century. There was much to be intrigued about the early republic, and numerous intellectuals weighed in. Although Tocqueville’s account has become the most famous, Schaff’s reflections are no less important for the church in America, because Schaff wrote from the unique perspective of a historian and theologian.

These lectures on America were first delivered in Prussia in March of 1854. In them, he defends the cause of America against those who make erroneous claims against it, yet he condemns slavery, materialism, radicalism, and sectarianism as “the chief deformities of the United States.” In the end, he calls the churches in Europe and America to link themselves together for the benefit of both.

With Logos, this important work by Philip Schaff is easier to read than ever before! The Scripture texts link to your Greek and Hebrew texts and English translations. And your digital library gives you the ease and flexibility to read Schaff alongside the primary texts of the key figures in church history, such as Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, and the Church Fathers.

Key Features

  • Lectures on America by Philip Schaff
  • In-depth preface by the author
  • European views of the United States

Praise for the Print Edition

In the development of the discipline of church history in the United States, few scholars played a more important role than the Swiss-born, German-educated immigrant Philip Schaff. His model of careful, accurate, comprehensive, and irenic scholarship . . . remains worthy of admiration and emulation.

—R. Graham, professor of American church history, North Park Theological Seminary

No scholar of his generation has interested me so much. He was broad, powerful, a man of great genius.

William G. T. Shedd

Philip Schaff wanted to be remembered as a Christian scholar, and he pursued this scholarship in the context of his grand and optimistic ecumenical vision . . . Schaff was, in his own words, an inveterate hoper.

—George Shriver

Product Details

  • Title: America: A Sketch of the Political, Social, and Religious Character of the United States
  • Author: Philip Schaff
  • Publisher: C. Scribner
  • Publication Date: 1855
  • Pages: 291

About Philip Schaff

Philip Schaff (1819–1893) was born in Chur, Switzerland. He was educated in Germany at Tübingen, Halle, and Berlin, where he studied under August Neander. In 1843, he moved to America and became a professor of church history and biblical literature at the German Reformed Theological Seminary in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.

During that time, he edited a hymnal, worked on the liturgy in the German Reformed Church, and edited a translation of the Heidelberg Catechism. The English translation of his History of the Apostolic Church appeared in 1853. Schaff remained at Mercersburg until 1863, when the Civil War forced the seminary to close.

In 1870, Schaff became a professor at Union Theological Seminary. During his tenure there, he held the chair of theological encyclopedia and Christian symbolism, the chair of Hebrew and cognate languages, the chair of sacred literature, and the chair of church history. He also served on the committee that translated the American Standard Version.

Schaff also authored or edited the History of the Christian Church, Early Church Fathers, and the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. He is remembered as one of America’s foremost church historians of the nineteenth century.