Finding a Christian America?


Dr. Miles Smith



Thursday april 18th, 2024




8:00pm ET

Since roughly 1980, the history of religion and particularly Protestantism in the United States has been litigated along a series of binaries: evangelical v. mainline, theocratic v. secular, liberal v. conservative. While these binaries are not artificial in themselves, they are particularly problematic if they are applied retroactively to the Early Republic or any point in history that precedes the so-called evangelical historiography created in the latter part of the twentieth century. Consequently, Americans have little understanding of religion in the nineteenth century and more importantly they have no idea how the fundamental laws of the United States reconciled Protestantism to a disestablished republican order. 

In this lecture, exploring ideas introduced in his forthcoming book Religion & Republic: Christian America from the Founding to the Civil War, Dr. Miles Smith will explain there was not in fact any reconciliation needed between Protestantism and disestablishment. Rather, Christianity was always baked into the American republic’s diplomatic, educational, judicial, and legislative regimes, and institutional Christianity in state apparatuses coexisted comfortably with disestablishment from the American Revolution until the beginning of the twenty-first century.

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A time.


Davenant Fellows Lectures are free, public lectures hosted monthly via Zoom throughout the academic year. They aim to showcase the scholarly expertise of our Davenant Hall faculty, and to provide a bank of high-quality lectures freely available online. Lectures are recorded, with both video and audio being made available after the event. To access past lectures, visit our YouTube or podcast archives.


8:00-9:00 Pm ET:

LECTURE: “Finding a Christian America?” by Dr. Miles Smith

9:00-9:30 Pm ET:


Our Speaker

Miles Smith

Associate Professor of History at Hillsdale University

Dr. Miles Smith (Ph.D. Texas Christian University) is a trained historian. He attended university at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, and received his Ph.D. from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Smith’s research is on the U.S. South and the Atlantic world. He generally writes on intellectual history—ideas, religion, slavery and freedom, etc.—but occasionally dabbles in political history, too. Dr. Smith is also interested in Europe and in Latin America. He edits nineteenth century works of historical theology and is revising a religious biography of Andrew Jackson. Smith has written for popular outlets like Ad Fontes, Mere OrthodoxyThe Gospel CoalitionPublic DiscourseThe Federalist, and The University Bookman


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April Fellows Lecture
Finding a Christian America?
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