How thirteen colonies created a nation that no one foresaw
After winning a war they were expected to lose, and achieving a unity that seemed unachievable, they fashioned a constitution that still endures
The United States of America, perhaps the most extraordinary nation ever produced by the human race, has about it one rarely mentioned idiosyncrasy. Although it has in many respects more than fulfilled the soaring vision of the people who founded it, the twentieth-century result of their great labor would in all likelihood bewilder and horrify the founders themselves.
What would the Puritans, fervently opposed to Catholicism, have thought had they known that in two hundred years Catholicism would be by far the numerically strongest denomination in their new country? What would a pope like Pius IX, who condemned the whole concept of a separation between church and state, have said if he had known that the United States, a country whose courts had accepted and asserted it, would see Catholicism grow so spectacularly? How would many of the founders have reacted if informed that the clause they diligently strove to insert in the constitution to protect freedom of religion as vital to republican democracy would be used by the courts some two centuries later to severely restrict the role of religion in public life?
In short, the country that emerged from the conflict of ideas, loyalities, and cannon fire in North America in the closing decades of the eighteenth century would confound all expectations. How this happened history can recount. Why it happened as it did, one could literally and without blasphemy say, God only knows–but most American Christians would probably agree that God must have had a hand in it somewhere. Thus begins the eighth chapter of We the People.
This volume of The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years has yet to be fully transcribed to the project website. You can, however, order the book to enjoy in hard-cover form complete with hundreds of beautiful illustrations by visiting The Christians website.