For most of the eighteenth century, British protestantism was
driven neither by the primacy of denominations nor by fundamental
discord between them. Instead, it thrived as part of a complex
transatlantic system that bound religious institutions to imperial
politics. As Katherine Carte argues, British imperial protestantism
proved remarkably effective in advancing both the interests of
empire and the cause of religion until the war for American
independence disrupted it. That Revolution forced a reassessment of
the role of religion in public life on both sides of the Atlantic.
Religious communities struggled to reorganize within and across new
national borders. Religious leaders recalibrated their
relationships to government. If these shifts were more pronounced
in the United States than in Britain, the loss of a shared system
nonetheless mattered to both nations.
Sweeping and explicitly transatlantic, Religion and the American Revolution demonstrates that if religion helped set the terms through which Anglo-Americans encountered the imperial crisis and the violence of war, it likewise set the terms through which both nations could imagine the possibilities of a new world.