By Kate Pais
Was the American Revolution more of a religious war than we thought? The Bible had a powerful influence in a land that was originally established as a haven for Protestant freedom. As seen in these examples taken from James P. Byrd’s Sacred Scripture, Sacred War: The Bible and the American Revolution, notable men in history frequently referenced Christian faith to help justify their patriotism and ultimately, war.
On some occasions, conviction in the Bible led to fool-hardiness. Before the American Revolution, soldier Goodman Wright fought in King Philip’s War. Wright believed even just holding the Bible protected him from harm, which he would quickly discover was not the case when he was slaughtered and had the book stuffed inside of him by the enemy.
However, Christian faith still inspired some of the most powerful men in American history to ultimately succeed in achieving independence and leave behind a passionate legacy.
Kate Pais joined Oxford University Press in April 2013. She works as a marketing assistant in the Academic/Trade division for the history, religion and theology, and bibles lists.
Image credits: (1) Portrait of John Lathrop, 1852. From Chandler Robbins. A history of the Second Church, or Old North, in Boston: to which is added a History of the New Brick Church. Boston: John Wilson & Son, 1852. Artist Unknown. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. (2) John Adams, Second President of the US., 1823-24. Painting by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. (3) A portrait of Alexander Hamilton painted by noted American portrait painter Daniel Huntington in c.1865, based on a full length portrait painted by John Trumbull. U.S. Treasury Collection, Secretary of the Treasury Portraits., 1865. From the US Treasury. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. (4) George Washington, 1795-1796, 1795-1796. From Art in The Frick Collection: Paintings, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons. (5) >First Church of Christ (Congregational), Main Street, between School & Church Streets, Hartford County, CT. Created by Jack E. Boucher. Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey.