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Religion in America

We cannot understand American culture and society without understanding the crucial role that religion has played—and still plays today—in the formation of American identity and values. The story of the American nation is, first and foremost, a story of religious foundations and growing religious diversity. From the first inhabitants of this land, Native Americans, to our Protestant colonial “founding fathers,” African slaves, nineteenth-century Catholic and Jewish immigrants, and the many Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and others arriving during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, religiously committed people have shaped the American social landscape and been shaped by it. Many religious movements have been born in our soil, as well, like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, charismatic Christianity, and Goddess spirituality.


This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.

Martha L. Finch

Southwest Missouri State University

Public College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, American Studies, History

Buddhism, Catholic, General Comparative Traditions, Hinduism, Indigenous, Islam, Judaism, New Religious Movements, Other Christianities, Protestant
Religous Tradition

Gender/Women/ Sexuality, Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars, Race/Ethnicity

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