Religion and the American Revolution

An Imperial History

By Katherine Carté

416 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 20 halftones

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6264-0
    Published: June 2021
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-6265-7
    Published: April 2021
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-5930-3
    Published: April 2021

Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press

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Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press

Awards & distinctions

2022 Albert C. Outler Prize, American Society of Church History

Finalist, 2021 Journal of the American Revolution Book Award

For most of the eighteenth century, British protestantism was driven neither by the primacy of denominations nor by fundamental discord between them. Instead, it thrived as part of a complex transatlantic system that bound religious institutions to imperial politics. As Katherine Carté argues, British imperial protestantism proved remarkably effective in advancing both the interests of empire and the cause of religion until the war for American independence disrupted it. That Revolution forced a reassessment of the role of religion in public life on both sides of the Atlantic. Religious communities struggled to reorganize within and across new national borders. Religious leaders recalibrated their relationships to government. If these shifts were more pronounced in the United States than in Britain, the loss of a shared system nonetheless mattered to both nations.

Sweeping and explicitly transatlantic, Religion and the American Revolution demonstrates that if religion helped set the terms through which Anglo-Americans encountered the imperial crisis and the violence of war, it likewise set the terms through which both nations could imagine the possibilities of a new world.

About the Author

Katherine Carté (who previously published as Katherine Carté Engel) is associate professor of history at Southern Methodist University, with affiliations in the Religious Studies department.
For more information about Katherine Carté, visit the Author Page.


“Carté’s book is valuable to anyone who wants to understand the role of established religion in the British Empire and the reasons why established religion was abandoned after the war… carefully researched, clearly written, and interesting to read.” – Journal of the American Revolution

"Perhaps the most extensive study of public religion across the British Empire in the Revolutionary era. . . . Religion and the American Revolution will stand as an important touchstone for historians of the American Revolution and historians of eighteenth-century religion” --H-Early-America

“A timely Atlantic story [and] . . . a reorientation of how we should think about the nation’s founding.” -- Society for U.S. Intellectual History

“A timely contribution to the historiography of the rise and fall of the first British Empire. . . . [F]uture scholars will be inspired by [Carté's] findings.”—Church History

Religion and American Revolution excels as a history of protestant power in and through the American Revolution . . . [that] compellingly examines and critiques the mechanisms and architecture by which protestants asserted themselves through networks, despite their religious rhetoric never having been a necessary cause for the American Revolution or the founding of the United States.”—American Religion

“[Carte’s] recovery of imperial Protestantism is a notable research achievement and a valuable addition to the new transatlantic assessment of the Revolution.”—Journal of Church and State