In God of Liberty, Thomas S. Kidd dives deep into the underlying religious influences that guided and altered the course of the American Revolution. Prior to the revolution, America found itself immersed in immorality, which would eventually “descend into chaos and tyranny.” Kidd focuses on the desperate need for a spiritual revival that existed during the American Revolution and how, through spiritual renewal, God helped the founding fathers establish a nation based on Christian principles.
Kidd delves into the lives of religious reformers, political leaders, and military commanders to provide a background of the American Revolution in a more focused and unique perspective. It is a breath a fresh air from the clichéd historical textbooks that only address broad themes of the time period. God of Liberty leads the reader sequentially through periods in the American Revolution, with each chapter centered on a different viewpoint, person, or religious denomination. Kidd provides the background of historical issues when necessary, making it a lucid and enjoyable text. A senior fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion and an associate professor of history at Baylor University, Kidd brings extensive knowledge of his subject to the table.
He writes, “[L]iberty’s friends must always be vigilant to protect it, for malevolent forces always sought to destroy. . . religious freedom.” Kidd focuses on how Christian patriots depended on their faith in God when they had nothing else to support them, and how that faith influenced their approach to war and ultimately to the Constitution of the United States. “The U.S. Constitution emerged from a crisis of virtue.”
Overall, God of Liberty is an enlightening book, full of fresh perspectives and well-explained points. Even someone who has never heard of the American Revolution could finish the book satisfied and informed. A history buff will pick up new points, and at the same time, a novice can gain a solid foundation of U.S. history. God of Liberty is a delightfully informative adventure that presents history in a new light. – Benjamin Schmitt, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Kidd directs his magnifying glass on a rare slice of the American Revolution: its religious aspects. The organization of the work is more topical than chronological, giving a chapter’s worth of attention to matters of racial equality, slavery, revivalism, chaplains, the Constitution, and the 1800 election of Jefferson as president. If there are common threads running throughout, they are the questions: How was the Revolution influenced by religion, and how was religion affected by the Revolution? Kidd is quite adept at providing answers while explaining the complicated connections between religion, politics, freedom, and patriotism that make up the Revolutionary period. After reading this, some may wonder why religion is so shortchanged in other Revolutionary treatments. In his epilogue, the author also has something to say about the notion of a Christian America, a topic that is particularly relevant today.