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Grant number like: FB-53758-08

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Christopher D. Grasso
College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA 23186-0002)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2008 – 6/30/2009

Skepticism and American Faith from the Revolution to the Civil War

This book project examines the personal, social, and political dimensions of the relation between religious skepticism and faith in the United States from the 1770s through the 1860s. In the era that we have come to associate with evangelical revivalism, religious reformers, the optimism of Manifest Destiny, and the consolidation of the Bible belt, one prominent writer argued that there was "not much open scepticism [and] not much avowed infidelity" but there was "a vast amount of concealed doubt, and untold difficulty." To pay more attention to both open infidelity and hidden doubt is not to argue that either is more important than the surging, protean religiosity in late 18th and early 19th-century American life. Yet the dialogue of skepticism and faith that pushed "infidels" to the margins or kept them in the closet also helped define the Christian mainstream.