Role of Religion in Early History of America

Role of Religion in Early History of America

Religion played a crucial role in shaping the history and politics of America during its early days. A blend of various religious beliefs, images, and documents explains how religion played a key function in the formation and early development of the United States. In the early history of America, religion brought about the diversity of religious traditions during this period, the growth of faith in the early public, and the principle of freedom religion which developed into a guiding principle in American life.

America’s exceptional commitment to religious freedom comes from the diversity of its faith traditions. The religious attitudes that existed in frontier settlements fostered the development of evangelical movements. African slaves introduced Islam to the US and the effort to abolish Christian preachers mostly led slavery.

The aspect of rebelling against conventionally practiced religion is a component of America’s religious history. George Whitefield, for example, was an Anglican minister from England. He was an outspoken and controversial preacher such that in most churches, he was not so much welcomed. As a result, he built his own pulpit and started preaching to the public. His portable pulpit pioneered the great revival meetings that have become a key feature of evangelical Christianity in the US.

Religion was in fact key to the abolition of slavery and the slave trade. Garretson was a religious man, is believed to have been struck by a thought from above while reading the Bible to let his slaves go. From that time, he became a committed abolitionist and spent most of his life as an itinerant minister, moving on horsebacks from one plantation to another to preach the evils of slavery and try convincing the other slave owners that what they were doing was against the will of God. His saddlebags are iconic objects of itinerant preachers during America. Lucretia Mott was a prominent abolitionist, quarker, and pioneer of the rights of women. She led efforts to avoid the use of goods and products manufactured through the use of slavery.

Religious ceremonies also marked rites of passage among Americans during this duration. The era entailed baptism, first communion, marriage, and then death, sadly enough. At the same time, some of the American Indians utilized wampum in the trade as a form of exchange (money) and in religious ceremonies, marriage or betrothal agreements. The beads were a symbol of peace, contentment, and harmony during the early history of America.


Divine, R. A., Breen, T. H., Williams, R. H., & Frederickson, G. W. (1990). America past and present (p. 692). Scott Foresman/Addison-Wesley.