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The Faiths of Our Fathers: What America's Founders Really Believed
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The Faiths of Our Fathers: What America's Founders Really Believed

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  132 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Throughout our nation's history, the religious beliefs of America's founders have been contested and misunderstood. Did our founders advocate Christianity or atheism? In The Faiths of Our Fathers, widely acclaimed historian Alf J. Mapp, Jr. cuts through the historical uncertainty to accurately portray the religious beliefs of eleven of America's founding fathers, including ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published September 28th 2005 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (first published January 1st 1955)
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To his credit, the author does a good job of showing how many of the founding fathers had grown up in a system where there was in fact a state religion, and how that had led to the persecution of those of other faiths. Of particular note are several mentions of how Baptists suffered under the Anglican state religion, and how they were strong supporters of the separation of church and state, going so far as to reject offers of state sponsorship from those who sought to retain a link between churc ...more
Very interesting insight into the religious landscape in the years leading up to our declaration of independence. The author makes a strong case for the following ideas:
There was already a plethora of religious sects, cults, and mainstream denominations, but religious practice was rather different than much of what we see today. The Founders were a diverse group, but all a product of the norm of the times, i.e. state sponsored religion. Each of the colonies was formed around one primary Christia
This is a series of independent essays about the religious or spiritual faith of some of the prominent founding fathers. You could pick up the book and read any of the chapters independently, as they don't have a connected narrative that must be followed consecutively.

I'm tempted to criticize, as there were a few chapters that focused very heavily on biographical details that had little to do with the faith of the subject and seemed to be out of place - and yet I just generally really enjoyed re
This book is a useful little compendium of information on the most prominent founding fathers and their religious beliefs, but I was not wowed by this book as a serious work of history. This is essentially just a collection of well known information, conveniently categorized for the reading, but demonstrating no particular scholarship or analysis of the information. Historical interpretation in this book is at a minimum, which, considering the kinds of flimsy and essentially useless conclusions ...more
Christian Dibblee
This is not a book that will radically change your understanding of history, but it does provide much-needed background on a topic that is directly important to how our nation was founded. I also liked that the author included some lesser known Fathers. He also did a wonderful job presenting the religious views of each figure within the boundaries of their personal biographical story. Definitely a good survey on the subject, and a very slim volume for easy reading.
Mike Emett
Anyone who thinks this book disproves the Right's belief of religious minded or influenced Founders are just plain dumb. The book proves that, for the ones the author chose (who knows why more are not included, I do not know) all had a belief in God and religion and were influenced by religion and faith and wanted everyone to have theirs protected. This book disproves the Leftist notion that religion and faith had no role or influence. I learned much from this book. I learned that the Founder's ...more
The book had some interesting information about religion in pre-Revolutionary America...and particularly in the lives of several of the Founding Fathers. However, I do not think that the author stayed focused on his topic. Also, the book was not well-edited. Several times, I found the same idea conveyed more than once within the same story. As if the author wrote it in one place and decided to move it to another place and then it was never removed from the original place.

There was definitely som
We seem to be hearing more and more that the Constitution was developed on religious principles and that the drafters wanted religion well embedded in our government.

Read this and have the lie put that that thinking. There was a big range of religious practice among the drafters, with some being barely observant. What they had in common was a firm belief in the separation of church and state. While there were some religious references in the Constitution, the intent cannot be in doubt.

By the wa
Christopher Carbone
Well-done book that explains the faith of the Founding Fathers of the United States and shows how few (if any) would be categorized as “Christian” in today’s day and age and how many would probably be atheists or agnostic. However, the book also shows how all of these men separated themselves from their beliefs to make the US a secular nation to grow forever separate and ap[art from any church. It also dispels many myths around the founders and their faiths (ie: the nonsensical idea that Washing ...more
Covenant Presbyterian Springfield Ohio
Call Number: 200.973 M297F

William Smith
I picked up this book as an impulse buy Noble from the “Books for Grads” table as I was checking out of Barnes & Noble last month. The fact that Mapp has done the research from original writings for each of the founders he discusses, and bases his conclusions on this information made the book a worthwhile read for me. I have read a least one biography on most of the founders he discusses; several on some of them. It is my opinion that his conclusions are right on target. And, it is an easy r ...more
Tim Titolo
So the founding fathers were not all church going extreme right conservatives. SO how should the constitution be interpreted and applied. I side with the view that it must be molded issue by issue into what is called for by the times and the case. That, I believe, is what the founding fathers provided for.
This book provided interesting insights into the religious thoughts and pursuits of our founding fathers. Although most did not belong to a specific denomination, they were seekers of truth and I enjoyed reading their writings and feelings.
Rebecca Kilby
This wasn't poor historically speaking from what I've studied in the past, but I've read much better accounts than this book. The author quoted secondary sources too much as well.
I found the book to be a an entertaining read. However, I feel the author strayed from the point of the book often, that being the religious beliefs of the founding fathers.
Connie Landry
It did not have as much information regarding the founder's beliefs as I thought it would. The information is sparse and he talks about a lot of their political accomplishments.
Not a bad read, but don't expect any ground breaking scholarship. Gives a good overview of some Founders' religious beliefs and how the influenced the formation of the republic.
Interesting light read. Insightful if you wish to understand the religious evolution of some well known, as well as less known, Founding Fathers.
Donovan Walling
Brief but interesting and authoritative reading about the religious beliefs and influences of the men who founded the United States.
Dale Bjorkman
Nice overview of founding fathers from a unique perspective. Not as well written as I would have liked, but interesting.
I enjoyed reading this and learning more about what the key people who wrote our Constitution, etc., thought about religion.
A solid educational read, well worth picking up if you're in the mood to learn more about this nation's forefathers.
The forefathers of our country had beliefs much different from that portrayed by the Republicans and the far right.
Fairly well written. Unfortunately, the author misses treating all of his subjects equally.
A decent, if very basic and sometimes simplistic, look at religion & the founders.
Mapp shows the variety of religious views held by our Founding Fathers.
Important information about our founding fathers that is never taught.
A must read for anyone living in a country with a vocal religious right wing !!
Jan 03, 2015 Lisa added it
Very informative.
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