Popular Religion in the American and French Revolutions

  • Clarke Garrett


In the era Robert Palmer has called the age of the democratic revolution, every European country west of Russia, and the European colonies in America as well, felt the shock-waves of an explosion of new ideas and new energies whose repercussions we still feel. There is no question that the revolutions had profound effects on religious institutions. The role of the churches in society was called into question as never before, and so was the clergy’s role as moral and spiritual arbiter. Moreover, the pronouncements of church and state would never again mesh as nicely as they had seemed to do, in protestant and catholic countries alike, in the decades preceding the American and French Revolutions. Yet it has never been clear what the impact of these revolutions was on the belief structures of ordinary men and women.


Eighteenth Century French Revolution Popular Belief Traditional Religion American Revolution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 1.
    William G. McLoughlin, ‘The Role of Religion in the Revolution: Liberty or Conscience and Cultural Cohesion in the New Nation’, in Stephen G. Kurtz and James Hutson (eds), Essays on the American Revolution ( Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1973 ), pp. 197–55;Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    Alan G. Heimert, Religion and the American Mind, from the Great Awakening to the Revolution ( Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1966 );Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    Philip Greven, The Puritan Temperament ( New York, Knopf, 1977 ).Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic ( New York, Charles Scribners Sons, 1971 );Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, revised edition ( Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1968 );Google Scholar
  6. 2.
    John F. C. Harrison, The Second Coming: Popular Millenarianism 1780–1850 ( New Brunswick NJ, Rutgers University Press, 1979 );Google Scholar
  7. 2.
    Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down ( New York, Viking Press, 1972 ).Google Scholar
  8. 3.
    Marc Venard, ‘Popular Religion in the Eighteenth Century’, in William J. Callahan and David Higgs (eds), Church and Society in Catholic Europe of the Eighteenth Century ( Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1979 ), pp. 139–51;Google Scholar
  9. 3.
    Maurice Agulhon, La Republique au village ( Paris, Plon, 1970 ), p. 183;Google Scholar
  10. 3.
    Vittorio Lanternari, ‘Religione popolare: prospettiva storicoantropologica’, Civiltà delle macchine 27 (1979), pp. 131–40;Google Scholar
  11. 3.
    Ernesto De Martino, Sud e magia ( Milan, Feltrinelli, 1959 ), pp. 8–21;Google Scholar
  12. 3.
    Carlo Ginzburg, ‘Folklore, magia, religione’, in Storia d’Italia ( Turin, Einaudi, 1972 ), I, pp. 610–63;Google Scholar
  13. 3.
    Natalie Z. Davis, ‘The Possibilities of the Past’,,Journal of Interdisciplinary History 12 (1981), pp. 268–70.Google Scholar
  14. 4.
    Gérard Cholvy, ‘Réalités de la réligion populaire dans la France contemporaine, xix‘-début xx’ siècles’, in La Religion populaire dans l’occident chrétien: approches historiques ( Paris, Editions Beauchesne, 1976 ), p. 153.Google Scholar
  15. 5.
    J. M. Bumsted and John E. Van de Wetering, What Must I Do to be Saved? the Great Awakening in Colonial America ( Hinsdale, Ill, The Dryden Press, 1976 ), pp. 88–95;Google Scholar
  16. 5.
    William G. McLoughlin, New England Dissent 1630–1833: the Baptists and the Separation of Church and State (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1971), I, pp. 350–57; The Christian History for the Year 1743 ( Boston, S. Kneeland and T. Green, 1744 ), pp. 115–18;Google Scholar
  17. 5.
    Charles Chauncy, The State of Religion in New England, reprinted in The Clarendon Historical Society’s Reprints, series I, 1882–1884 ( Edinburgh, For the Society, 1883 ).Google Scholar
  18. 8.
    Louis Trénard and Gabrielle Trénard, Le Diocèse de Belley ( Paris, Editions Beauchesne, 1978 ), pp. 122–25;Google Scholar
  19. 8.
    Alain Lottin, ‘Les Temps modernes’, in Les Diocèses de Cambrai et Lille ( Paris, Editions Beauchesne, 1978 ), pp. 171–72;Google Scholar
  20. 8.
    Maurice Agulhon, La Vie sociale en Provence interieure au lendemain de la Révolution ( Paris, Société des études robespierristes, 1970 ), pp. 41–42;Google Scholar
  21. 8.
    Christiane Marcilhacy, Le Diocèse d’Orléans au milieu du XIX esiècle: les hommes et leurs mentalités ( Paris, Sirey, 1964 ), p. 477.Google Scholar
  22. 9.
    Nathan O. Hatch, The Sacred Cause of Liberty: Republican Thought and the Millennium in Revolutionary New England ( New Haven, Yale University Press, 1977 ), pp. 19–24;Google Scholar
  23. 9.
    James West Davidson, The Logic of Millennial Thought: Eighteenth-Century New England ( New Haven, Yale University Press, 1977 ), pp. 216–30;Google Scholar
  24. 12.
    Clarke Garrett, Respectable Folly: Millenarianism and the French Revolution in France and England ( Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975 ), pp. 275–30;Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Russell E. Miller, The Larger Hope: the First Century of the Universalist Church in America 1770–1870 ( Boston, Unitarian-Universalist Association, 1979 ), p. 68.Google Scholar
  26. 27.
    Quoted in Donna Hill, Joseph Smith: the First Mormon ( Garden City NY, Doubleday and Co., 1977 ), p. 22.Google Scholar
  27. 29.
    Quoted in Conrad L. Donakowski, A Muse for the Masses: Ritual and Music in an Age of Democratic Revolution 1770–1870 ( Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1977 ), p. 38.Google Scholar
  28. 34.
    Olwen Hufton, ‘Women in Revolution, 1789–1796’, in Johnson (ed.),French Society and the Revolution pp. 365–66.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bruce Lincoln 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clarke Garrett

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations