American Origins with Christopher Grasso

Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 10:30am to 12:00pm

Huntington Library, Seaver Classroom 3 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA

 “The Rise and Fall of Organized Deism, 1790-1812”

Explanations for the fate of organized deism in the late 18th and early 19th c. U.S. have tended to emphasize the limited popular appeal of reasoned religion in an era of evangelical enthusiasm.  This paper compares the deists to other groups that worked to perpetuate themselves outside the Christian mainstream, emphasizing instead the power of the state, the constraints of the law, and the bitterly contested politics of religious and political association.

Christopher Grasso is a professor of history at the College of William and Mary.  He has just published an edited edition of a 19th c memoir, Bloody Engagements: John R. Kelso's Civil War (Yale UP, 2017), and his working on a biography of the same figure.  His project of many years, now nearly complete, will be published by Oxford University Press: Skepticism and American Faith: From the Revolution to the Civil War.

RSVP for pre-circulated papers.

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Early Modern Studies Institute (EMSI)
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