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Calvin Shorts

American Roots, James D. Bratt, Calvin Shorts, Calvin College Press, Calvin College, American HistoryAmerican Roots (Summer 2016)

by James D. Bratt

"Diversity" is not a new, foreign element in American life. It goes back to the earliest roots of the nation, when five distinct regions emerged along the Atlantic shore in the 17th century. This book explains how and why that happened, and with what consequences. Each region was marked by a different geography and economy, a different mix of people, and different sets of social expectations. Religion and politics varied sharply from one area to another. In each case the blend of ingredients also bore lines of tension that built up to a point of crisis: the Salem witch-craze in New England, for instance, or the Stono Rebellion of enslaved Africans in the Lower South. Out of these crises came reforms that set the five regions on their course to converge, eventually, in a new nation. But many of the old differences came along, making the young United States a rambunctious, often uneasy place, filled with quarrels and culture wars. That is, the United States today shows some remarkable similarities to times far away and forgotten. This book brings those times back to life in the hope that clearer memories might help us live better today.

Paperback: 978-1-937555-19-1, $7.99
eBook: 978-1-937555-20-7, $2.99

Where to Purchase (when available)

Calvin College Campus Store: 616-526-6376 or 800-748-0122



About the Author

James D. Bratt is Professor of History emeritus at Calvin College, where he taught for twenty-eight years. Prior to that he taught in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his Ph.D. in American history at Yale University (1978). His many courses on U. S. history include surveys of Early America and American intellectual and religious history. He is particularly interested in the interaction between religion, politics, and social reform; the history of theology; and the religious aspects of immigration. Professor Bratt is the author of many books and articles in three main areas: (1) Dutch immigration to the United States especially in its religious dimensions; (2) the life and thought of the Dutch theologian and politician Abraham Kuyper; and (3) American religion on the eve of the Civil War. He contributed an essay on American Protestantism in the 17th-century to the Cambridge History of Religions in America. He studied abroad on two Fulbright Research grants and also enjoys spending time at his cottage near Lake Michigan. Professor Bratt is married and the father of four adult children. He blogs at The Twelve (####).