Basic Knowledge of American History

Basic Knowledge of American History Instructions: Attached is a document with two discussion responses from the discussion question provided.

Basic Knowledge of American History
Basic Knowledge of American History

You are to comment on the responses given, which pertain to the discussion question. Please respond to both discussion responses separately

Basic Knowledge of American History Discussion 1 (Elrod)

When I started this class, I had the basic knowledge of American history taught throughout the public-school system.  I also am a lifetime Catholic.  However, over the past several weeks I have seen how America has truly been influenced by religion and how it has grown to the free country it is today.

For instance, after the American Revolution, when the American Constitution was being drafted, Thomas Jeffersonís idea of religious freedom was adopted.  Initially, America had been established with Protestant leaders that essentially ran the nation.  However, through the many years of growth and the Enlightenment, there were more views of Christianity established.  Thomas Jefferson, therefore, declared that ìAlmighty God hath created the mind freeî, thus creating religious freedom as the first amendment.  That the government shall not establish a state religion, consequently, allowing citizens to retain religious freedom on how to worship.  This came to be a major influence on the evolution of America.

After the American Revolution and the movement west, the next influential time in American history was the Civil War.  Slavery was a belief that tore Christens apart.  For southern Christens they declared that the Bible insisted they retain slaves, and, in the north, they declared how wrong it was.  This brought a violent battle.  However, at this time President Lincoln meditated on Divine Will.  Although not a deeply religious man, he reflected on how God has His own purposes.  While there remained a ìseparation of church and stateî President Lincoln was able to use the influence of religious freedom to help bring a divided nation together.

Finally, in more recent history, the influence of religion in politics.  In the earlier part of the twentieth century, there was significant influence from preachers on pollical choices.  Such as Billy Grahamís influence on Dwight Eisenhower and the influence of putting God in the pledge of allegiance and affirming that God was what made America strong.  Also, Martin Luther King Jrís non-violent religious influence of Civil Rights.  However, this was also a time of religious growth and a more spiritual movement.  As the twentieth century passed more Americans left a defined religious belief and led a more spiritual life.

Therefore, the growth of America started with a need for religious freedom to worship.  There has been a myriad of influences and expressions of how this should be done.  There has been violence and passive vocal influences.  But as it continues today America is a melting pot of religious worship that may not have political influence but influences pollical life and still proves that God is still there.

Basic Knowledge of American History Discussion 2 (Opdyke)

One concept I learned about in Americanís religious history was about Womenís Rights. The Womenís rights movement was founded by a religious group. They fought for equal rights and the right to vote. Today in the government, there are more women then after in Congress and in the House of Representatives. During the Presidentís State of the Union speech, the women of Congress and House of Representatives all dressed in white as a reminder to Women Suffrage. Today, the religious component of the Women Suffrage was not mentioned in this silent movement; women of all religions stood together to make a political stance. Another concept we learned about was The Great Awakening. The Great Awakening was a time period when there was a flood of revivals and adult conversion into Christianity. During this time, they challenged prior forms of religion. It was successful at gaining new members and renewing the faith of the already existing Christians. The major concept was re-birth, also known as conversion or salvation. The concept of Great Awakening sheds light on how the majority of Americans today still classifies as a Christian or a sub-type. It also shows why religion, specifically Christianity, is so important to African Americas as well. The Great Awakening provided the African American slaves time to be re-born. This concept, among others, brought the African American community to the Christian faith which is still strongly seen in their community today. Lastly, the election of the first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy. Before being elected, he had to convince the American people that he would respect the separation of church and state. This was a very big deal in the 1960s. Today, I know religion is always brought up in elections, but I feel like it is not such a deciding factor for our society anymore. It will always be relevant, just not such a big issue.

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