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Amy Kittelstrom, “The Religion of Democracy: Seven Liberals and the American Moral Tradition” (Penguin Press, 2015): Amy Kittelstrom is an associate professor of history at Sonoma State University. In her book The Religion of Democracy: Seven Liberals and the American Moral Tradition (Penguin Press, 2015), Kittelstrom gives us profiles of seven individual and their c...

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Amy Kittelstrom is an associate professor of history at Sonoma State University. In her book The Religion of Democracy: Seven Liberals and the American Moral Tradition (Penguin Press, 2015), Kittelstrom gives us profiles of seven individual and their circle. They embodied the ideas of what she calls an “American Reformation.” Beginning with John Adams, who believed every man had the duty to think for himself, to Jane Addams, who went beyond Christian charity to live among the poor, the book show us how these individuals combined liberalism and moral values to create a post-Christian “religion of democracy.” The “American Reformation” was the process of moving from Protestant orthodoxy and dogma to instituting the values of equality, liberty, and democracy within the social and political structure of the nation. These seven Americans combined the classic liberal values of reason and scientific inquiry with element of reformed Christianity, such as free will and equality before God, while rejecting the Calvinist teaching of human depravity. These ideals were not only political but a social practice in a progressive vision of society. In the process liberals acquired a reputation as “godless” discarding religion for a mere moral relativism. Kittelstrom presents us with individuals whose concern for moral values were derived from their religious roots and argues that the democratic ethos of her subjects valuing the individual, as both free and equal, was due to their reconstituted religious beliefs rather than a rejection of religion. The Religion of Democracy provides the reader an opportunity to consider the religious and moral sensibilities of the liberal tradition in America.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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