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Pitzer College    
  Feb 20, 2018
2016-2017 Pitzer Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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HIST 122 PZ -Religion & the Founding Fathers

Institution: Pitzer

Description: Were the Founding Fathers God-fearing Christians or Enlightenment deists? Consequently, should America be a religious or secular nation?  The extent to which we inhabit a Christian nation is one of the most ubiquitous (and shrill) debates in contemporary American politics.  Central to this debate is the religious (or not-so religious) intentions behind our so-called Founding Fathers, and their plans for our nation’s religious establishment.  For some, the Founders were pious and devout men intent on constructing an explicitly Christian nation; for others, they were borderline atheists who envisioned a strict separation of church and state. The historical reality is much more complex than either side readily admits. Burdened by anachronism and oversimplification, this debate is in dire need of thoughtful historical exploration from several angles. This is the work we will perform in this course. We will not only examine and contextualize the complex, conflicting, and often changing views of the Founders themselves, but we will also trace the evolution of this debate from the Revolution to the present.  How and why has the struggle over religion in politics taken the form that it has? What, if anything, are the Founders’ relevance for the present?

For up-to-date information on current course offerings and details, please refer to the Pitzer class schedule on MyCampus2 Portal.

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