John Butler Becoming America Summary

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Jon Butler’s Becoming America: The Revolution Before 1776 and Richard L. Bushman’s The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities offer us a new perspective on the ideas leading up to the American Revolution. Both of these books examine a period in American history that is often ignored by historians, the period between 1680 and 1770. During this time period is when we starts to see a society begin to develop that is wholly American. A society that was based on the traditions of the royal courts of Europe but still dedicated to the principle that all people were created equal. These two books paint a fascinating portrait of a society in flux, no longer dependent on England but not yet quite independent. As Butler points out, “The transformations occurring between 1680 and 1770 made the term “America”…show more content…
According to Butler, the religious pluralism that was created between 1680 and 1770 is the identifying aspect of modern American culture. "Colonial American religion," Butler concludes, “was varied and rich between 1680s and the American Revolution." This "religious pluralism and vitality," which was far more extensive than was characteristic of Europe, has been "identified as the very soul of modern American culture" he concludes. The increase of different denominations was very different than the previous government-supported Christianity. There was an explosion of different denominations including Quaker, Presbyterian, Baptist, German Lutheran, Catholic, Judaism and others. Churches began to pop up everywhere. The churches displayed Butler's ideas of a modern society with their hand carved pews, velvet seat cushions, and silver communion plates. Between 1680 and 1750 there were also what Butler refers to as "modern revivals." These revivals signified "new birth" and a renewed commitment to Christ. According to Butler, theses revivals stemmed from cultural diversity, thus making them
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