Publication Date

Winter 1994

Document Type



Originally published: Contra Mundum, 10 (Winter 1994): 26-38.


It is not uncommon for historians to view America as an experimental laboratory in political theory and practice in which the American character is represented as a triumph of common sense over ideology. This may help explain why history books often neglect to acknowledge the religious dimension of this experiment. Yet far from being inconsequential, religion—and particularly the Christian concept of vocation—is the wellspring of this spirit of practicality that gave substance to the desire for a greater degree of self-government and led to the development of greater religious and political liberty.