Reflective Essay: American Religions
Probably nothing quite so fully expresses the diversity of American life and history as the religious identities of American people. This collection of website images, I hope, will help demonstrate that fact. It ranges from Reformation beginnings in Europe to the Civil War in the mid-19th century. At least parts of the collection could be used to supplement any American history course that falls within that chronology. I have had two intentions in mind. First, I wanted students to have some visible dimension of the religious denominations and sects that they might encounter in a basic American history course. So here they will meet Puritans, Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists, Catholics, Jews, Shakers, Mormons, and others. Second, I have had the historical context in mind. So the sites illustrate Protestant and Catholic warfare, religion and the American Revolution, Evangelicalism and social reform, religion and the Civil War. I have also tried to convey something of the character of the sites to which I reference the illustrations, setting in quotations descriptive accounts of the individuals, buildings, and documents presented.