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"in the Hands of a Good Providence": Religion in the Life of George Washington
Contributor(s): Thompson, Mary V. (Author)

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ISBN: 0813927633     ISBN-13: 9780813927633
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
OUR PRICE: $35.75  

Binding Type: Hardcover - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: October 2008
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Biography & Autobiography | Presidents & Heads Of State
- Biography & Autobiography | Religious
- Biography & Autobiography | Historical
Dewey: 973.430
LCCN: 2008011310
Age Level: 18-UP
Grade Level: 13-UP
Physical Information: 0.98" H x 6.54" W x 9.24" (1.24 lbs) 251 pages
- Chronological Period - 18th Century
Features: Bibliography, Dust Cover, Illustrated, Index, Price on Product, Table of Contents
Review Citations: Chronicle of Higher Education 11/07/2008 pg. 27
Reference and Research Bk News 02/01/2009 pg. 73
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:
Attempts by evangelical Christians to claim Washington and other founders as their own, and scholars' ongoing attempts to contradict these claims, are nothing new. Particularly after Washington was no longer around to refute them, legends of his Baptist baptism or secret conversion to Catholicism began to proliferate. Mount Vernon researcher Mary Thompson endeavors to get beyond the current preoccupation with whether Washington and other founders were or were not evangelical Christians to ask what place religion had in their lives. Thompson follows Washington and his family over several generations, situating her inquiry in the context of new work on the place of religion in colonial and postrevolutionary Virginia and the Chesapeake.

Thompson considers Washington's active participation as a vestryman and church warden as well as a generous donor to his parish prior to the Revolution, and how his attendance declined after the war. He would attend special ceremonies, and stood as godparent to the children of family and friends, but he stopped taking communion and resigned his church office. Something had changed, but was it Washington, the church, or both? Thompson concludes that he was a devout Anglican, of a Latitudinarian bent, rather than either an evangelical Christian or a Deist. The meaning of this description, Thompson allows, when applied to eighteenth-century Virginia gentlemen, is far from self-evident, leaving ample room for speculation.

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