In this highly original approach to the history of the United States, James Moore focuses on the extraordinary role that prayer has played in every area of American life, from the time of the first settlers to the present day and beyond.
A stirring chronicle of the spiritual life of a nation, One Nation Under God shows how the faith of Americans – from the founding fathers to corporate tycoons, from composers to social reformers, from generals to slaves – was an essential ingredient in the formation of American culture, character, commerce, and creed.
One Nation Under God brings together the country’s hymns, patriotic anthems, arts, and literature as a framework for telling the story of the innermost thoughts of the people who have shaped the United States we know today. Beginning with Native Americans, One Nation Under God traces the prayer lives of Quakers and Shakers, Sikhs and Muslims, Catholics and Jews, from their earliest days in the United States through the advent of cyberspace, the aftermath of 9/11, and the 2004 presidential election. It probes the approach to prayer by such diverse individuals as Benjamin Franklin, Elvis Presley, Frank Lloyd Wright, Martha Graham, J. C. Penney, Mary Pickford, Cesar Chavez, P. T. Barnum, Jackie Robinson, and Christopher Columbus. It includes every president of the United States as well as America’s farmers, clergy, immigrants, industrialists, miners, sports heroes, and scientists.
One Nation Under God shows that without prayer, the political, cultural, social, and even economic and military history of the United States would be vastly different from what it is today. It engages in a thoughtful, timely examination of the modern debate over public prayer and how the current approach to prayer bears deep roots in the philosophies of the country’s founding fathers, a subject which remains distinct from the debate over church and state.