Fate of the Revolution: Interview with Lorri Glover

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Starting in 1787, states began to ratify the newly drafted federal Constitution which would determine the fate of the new American Republic. In order for the Constitution to go in effect, nine of the states needed to agree to the document. While five states quickly ratified the Constitution between December 1787 and January 1788, the country’s eyes stayed on Virginia. Virginia was the most populated and largest state and it was critical for the state to ratify the Constitution to legitimize the process.

Lorri Glover’s new book, The Fate of the Revolution: Virginians Debate the Constitutionpublished by Johns Hopkins University Press, explores the dramatic battle that took place during the Virginia Ratification Convention. Virginia’s convention was notable because some of the most influential founding fathers had staked out positions on the Constitution in stark opposition to one another. As Patrick Henry, James Madison, James Monroe, George Mason and John Marshall publicly debated the merits of the new Constitution, the nation waited for a decision. Glover explores the constitutional questions that divided Virginia and shows how these questions are still relevant in understanding the Constutition.

Lorri Glover is the John Francis Bannon Professor of History at Saint Louis University. She has written extensively about the early American Republic and the founding fathers. She has also written Founders as Fathers: The Private Lives and Politics of the American Revolutionaries (Yale University Press, 2014), The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and The Fate of America, with co-author with Daniel Blake Smith (Henry Holt Publishers, 2008), Southern Sons: Becoming Men in the New Nation (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), and finally All Our Relations: Blood Ties and Emotional Bonds Among the Early South Carolina Gentry (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).

Read the interview at DailyHistory.org. 

Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Fathers and Christianity: Interview with Sam Haselby

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Recently on Twitter, a debate broke out between Annette Gordon-Reed, Sam Haselby, and John Fea on the nature of Thomas Jefferson’s religious beliefs. The debate centered on the questions of whether or not Thomas Jefferson could be described as a Christian and wanted the United States to be a Christian nation. Ultimately, the debate could not overcome the 140 character limitations of Twitter. Fortunately, Michael Hattem preserved that debate at Jefferson, Christianity, and Twitter.

Instead of recreating the debate, it made more sense to contact one of the participants, Sam Haselby, whose recent book The Origins of American Religious Nationalism(published by Oxford University Press) examines how a conflict with Protestantism, in the decades following US independence transformed American national identity. Gordon Wood described his book in the New York Review of Books as an “impressive and powerfully argued book – that ….it was American Protestantism and not any sort of classical republicanism that was most important in shaping the development of American nationalism.” The Origins of American Religious Nationalism was published in 2015 and will be republished in paperback by OUP in December 2016. It made sense to get his perspective on the concept of American Religious Nationalism, the broad issues that underpinned the recent Twitter debate, and his understanding of early American Christianity.

Sam Haselby is a visiting scholar at the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life at Columbia University and the editor of Aeon magazine. He recently published an article for Aeon entitled American Secular explaining why the secular movement failed soon after the founding of the United States.

Here is our interview.