John Fea is a professor of history and chair of the history department at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. A scholar of early American history and American religious history, he is the author of several books, most notably Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction (2011), which was one of three finalists for the George Washington Book Prize. He is also the author of the award-winning The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America (2009). His most recent book is Why Study History?: Reflecting on the Importance of the Past (2013). His work has appeared in publications as wide-ranging as the Journal of American History and the Washington Post. He lectures at colleges and universities, historical societies, and religious organizations and is executive editor of Current.
This lecture draws from Fea's current research on the role of religion in the American Revolution by examining the impact of Presbyterianism on the Revolution in the mid-Atlantic region. Attention is paid to the connections between the First Great Awakening and the American Revolution, the importance of the College of New Jersey at Princeton (and its president John Witherspoon), and the emergence of Presbyterian political activity in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.