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It's also important to remember the extent to which prominent public figures in America couched the Revolution and the national destiny in terms of the narrative of the Exodus.

Figures no less prominent than Benjamin Franklin were comparing the United States as a new promised land that would throw off the yoke of Egypt and forge a new destiny as a free people before God.

I'm not entirely convinced by Wood's argument in practical terms - I think he overstates the degree to which established faiths dominated the religious landscape. Baptists were flourishing in Virginia before the Revolution, and the Puritan monolith was never as solid as it appears to us looking backwards.

Purely in terms of ideology, however, he may have a point.

Matt, one of the trivia facts I recall from Woods' short review was that a half-dozen Baptist preachers in Virginia were sitting in jail just prior to the outbreak of hostilities. Which no doubt strengthened Baptist resolve, but also showed the constraints under which all but the established denominations -- Puritans/Congregationalists in the North, Anglicans in the South -- labored. All of that changed with the Revolution.

Oh, indeed, Baptists were subject to (though somewhat irregular) prosecution - though in New England they had gained the right to exist as a denomination before the Revolution. (In the case of Rhode Island, of course, about a hundred and fifty years before). However, their membership numbers were exploding in rural Virginia and the middle colonies from the second quarter of the eighteenth century. This process began before the Revolution; it continued after it. Doesn't mean that egalitarian ideology, and even disestablishment, didn't give such dissenting faiths a boost. However, it does call into question whether the Revolution can be credited with the success of such sects to the extent Wood believes.

I'm not sure there was nothing like it in the western world. There for a few years during the era or Republicanism in England after the Civil War one could find it there. (Despite the excesses of the Puritans) But it didn't last long.

This land was prepared for the coming forth of the restoration...

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