United States History

What should we say about the United States of America? So much has already been said, adding our two cents is a bit redundant or presumptuous, depending on your perspective. Certainly, no one needs us to outline the facts, the major events and figures, or to describe our unique written Constitution and democratic-republican system.

We can offer a bit of perspective. It's nothing new, nothing we came up with on our own, but it is different from a lot of the prevailing notions about both history in general and our nation in particular.

For starters, there's no specific reference to the U.S. in the Bible. The principles found in God's Word that apply to all nations certainly apply to the United States as well, but we aren't a Christian nation, we don't hold a special place in biblical prophecy, and Manifest Destiny is the result of Enlightenment rationalist views about the Progress of Mankind rather than being rooted in any kind of Christian attitude.

That said, many of the first settlers of the New World were dedicated Christians seeking the right to worship God without the constraints of political entanglement or government-imposed strictures and doctrine. The Pilgrims came in 1620, just 13 years after the first successful English settlement at Jamestown, and the Puritan settlers followed soon after.

Their arrivals and colonization didn't make America Christian, of course. It was a broad continent, largely unknown, and the initial colonies weren't strictly bound together at first, as they were later to become. By that time, things had become substantially more secular, so that by the 18th century many Americans were just as degenerate as their European counterparts. Fortunately, men like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield were around to preach the true Gospel, and to initiate a revival known as the Great Awakening.

Secular forces were still at work, though. While there were definitely many Christians involved, the American Revolution was largely the result of Enlightenment philosophizing, and men were convinced that America could produce a virtuous and stable population if education and participatory government were enforced. So they rebelled against England, and the United States republic was formed.

Ever since, groups and individuals have tried to call Americans back to their Christian roots. That's the wrong strategy: we don't need to call anyone back to anything, we need to point the way forward to the pursuit of Christ and the bringing of His Gospel and glory to every corner of the earth no matter what our country of origin. That America has been so materially blessed simply means we have more options at our disposal for proclaiming and bringing the Word to the rest of the world.

Our study of United States history is consequently Christ-centered. Not because we think America is more Christian than other countries, but because it (like all other nations) is under Christ's control as King of Heaven and Lord of Time. Of course, you shouldn't abandon study of the facts, people and events, but they only attain true meaning when viewed through the lens of Christ's ultimate plan of redemption and self-glorification.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.

Did you find this review helpful?
12 Items found Print
Active Filters: Eyewitness & Primary Sources, 7th grade (Ages 12-13)
Across America on an Emigrant Train
by Jim Murphy
from Sandpiper Books
for 5th-8th grade
in Immigration & Emigration (Location: G5D-HIS)
$10.95 $6.00 (1 in stock)
American Waterways: Canal Days
by Jeanne Munn Bracken, ed.
from History Compass
for 7th-12th grade
in 19th Century America (Location: HIS-19CA)
$5.50 (1 in stock)
Behind Enemy Lines
Sterling Point Books
by H.R. DeMallie
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 5th-9th grade
in WWII: European Theater (Location: HIS-20CWW2)
Boy at Fort Mackinac
by Harold Dunbar Corbusier
for 5th-9th grade
in 19th Century America (Location: HIS-19CA)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Boy on the Wooden Box
by Leon Leyson
Reprint from Atheneum
for 4th-8th grade
Christopher Award
in Holocaust (Location: G5E-HIS)
Boys' War
by Jim Murphy
from Clarion Books
Historical Non-fiction for 5th-8th grade
in American Civil War (1860-1865) (Location: HIS-19CACW)
Colonial Triangular Trade: An Economy Based on Human Misery
by Phyllis Raybin Emert, ed.
from History Compass
for 7th-12th grade
in Slavery & the Underground Railroad (Location: G4D-HIS)
$5.50 (1 in stock)
Journey and Ordeal of Cabeza de Vaca
Dover editions
by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca
from Dover Publications
for 5th-Adult
in Renaissance & Reformation Literature (Location: LIT3-REN)
Plymouth Settlement
by William Bradford
from American Heritage Ministries
for 7th-10th grade
in Pilgrims at Plymouth (Location: HIS-USPIL)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
Stories of Young Pioneers
by Violet T. Kimball
from Mountain Press
Historical Non-fiction for 6th-11th grade
in Pioneer & Frontier Life (Location: HIS-19CAPIO)
Underground Railroad: Life on the Road to Freedom
by Pat Perrin, ed.
2nd edition from History Compass
for 7th-12th grade
in Slavery & the Underground Railroad (Location: G4D-HIS)
$5.50 (1 in stock)
Women in the Civil War: Warriors, Patriots, Nurses, and Spies
by Phyllis Raybin Emert, ed.
from History Compass
for 7th-12th grade
in American Civil War (1860-1865) (Location: HIS-19CACW)
$5.50 (1 in stock)