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One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America
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One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America

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One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America

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We’re often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the belief that America is fundamentally and formally Christian originated in the 1930s. To fight the slavery” of FDR’s New Deal, businessmen enlisted religious activists in a campaign for freedom under God” that culminated in the election of their ally Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. The new president revolutionized the role of religion in American politics. He inaugurated new traditions like the National Prayer Breakfast, as Congress added the phrase under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance and made In God We Trust” the country’s first official motto. Church membership soon soared to an all-time high of 69 percent. Americans across the religious and political spectrum agreed that their country was one nation under God.” Provocative and authoritative, One Nation Under God reveals how an unholy alliance of money, religion, and politics created a false origin story that continues to define and divide American politics to this day.

Basic Books

Basic Books

Kevin M. Kruse

Kevin M. Kruse

No of Pages
384
Publisher
Basic Books
ISBN-13
9780465097418
Awards
None
Book Format
Paperback
Published Date
May 3, 2016

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Author InterviewInterview with Kevin M. Kruse 

Interview Date : Aug 2, 2016

Please sign up to listen entire interview of at least 45 min.

Interview Summary

Faith-based conflicts in America have been going on for decades, but the idea that the U.S. government endorses God, and more specifically the Christian religion, is not as old as most of us might think.

President Roosevelt set off a chain of events in motion after he launched the New Deal and promoted the godless government. Corporate America was quick to align with the clergymen and ministers, which subsequently led to a series of events culminating in several widely accepted practices, including the introduction of the motto “In God We Trust” and its appearance on the U.S. dollar bill.

Since the 1950s, all presidents have embraced the religious and spiritual redemption – whether to to unite or divide the American public. 

Key Topics

  • What is the history of faith-based conflicts in the U.S.?
  • How were all symbols of public piety put in place in the 1950s?
  • How was “In God We Trust” chosen to be quoted on the U.S. dollar bill?
  • +

Table of Contents

Introduction ix
PART I: CREATION
1 Freedom Under God 3
2 The Great Crusades 35
PART II: CONSECRATION
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About Kevin M. Kruse

Kevin M. Kruse is a Professor of History at Princeton University. He specializes in the political, social, and urban/suburban history of twentieth-century America, with a particular interest in conflicts over race, rights and religion and the making of modern conservatism.

His most recent book, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, published by Basic Books in April 2015, investigates the making and meaning of American religious nationalism in the mid-twentieth century.

Kevin is also the author of White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism, published by Princeton University Press in 2005. That book won prizes including the 2007 Francis B. Simkins Award from the Southern Historical Association (for the best first book in the field of Southern history, 2005-2006) and the 2007 Best Book Award in Urban Politics from the American Political Science Association.

In addition, he has co-edited three essay collections: The New Suburban History (University of Chicago Press, 2006), with Thomas Sugrue; Spaces of the Modern City (Princeton University Press, 2008), with Gyan Prakash; and Fog of War: The Second World War and the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford University Press, 2012) with Stephen Tuck. He has been honored as one of America’s top young “Innovators in the Arts and Sciences” by the Smithsonian Magazine, selected as one of the top young historians in the country by the History News Network, and named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians.

A Nashville native and an alumnus of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Kevin went on to earn his MA and Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2000. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with his family.

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Testimonials

“The claim that the United States was founded and then flourished as a Christian nation turns out to be an all-American fraud, disseminated in the 1950s and after by an odd combination of reactionary businessmen, well-meaning political leaders, cranks, cynics, and dupes. Kevin M. Kruse’s calm and devastating book more than debunks the fraud; it offers brilliant insight into our politics, then and now.”

Sean WilentzBancroft Prize-winning author of The Rise of American Democracy

“Kevin M. Kruse’s startling One Nation Under God reveals the extraordinary Cold War politics that put 'under God' in America's Pledge of Allegiance, 'In God We Trust' on U.S. stamps, and Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments on Hollywood’s biggest movie list. The political warriors for a 'Christian America' made the Puritans look like pikers, and Kruse dissects their successes and foibles with grace, glowing research, and more than a little humor. A compelling read!”

Jon ButlerProfessor Emeritus of American Studies, History, and Religious Studies at Yale University

“Kruse tells a big and important story about the mingling of religiosity and politics since the 1930s.”

New York Times Book Review
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