Outlining Religion and the American Revolution

Since I started working on the subject of religion and the American Revolution, the central question has been: “what does that mean?” It’s a topic that has to be broken down into more specific pieces, and the most pertinent version of the question varies significantly by vantage point.  In our national conversation, it’s often taken by Christian nationalists to mean something akin to the faith of the founding fathers.

Continental_Congress_prayer

For others, it’s the passage of the First Amendment, so that it “happens” only in 1791.   (I think chronology is pivotal issue, something I’ve written about here.) For still others, it’s the sense that the colonists came to North America for their religious freedom and then fought to protect it.  There is no single question, and most of the ways the subject is investigated — looking at religion’s influence rather than its fate — obscure how the American Revolution transformed what Americans engaged and experienced as “religion.”

I tend to ramble on this subject, somewhat incoherently, when people outside the field ask me what I study.  But Thursday, blissfully, the students found a way to collectively frame the subject of religion and the Revolution in a way that was both reasonably comprehensive and spoke to questions of enduring import to the United States. (They’re successfully finding a way to talk to their Aunt Marilyn!  Can I make this an SLO?)

The parameters of the assignment were two fold.  Within the context of the period from 1763-1789 (dates determined by Readex’s check boxes), students investigated topics that either involved the word “religion,” or that had to do, in their conceptions, with religion. The results were truly wonderful, and in this space before too long we’ll have more detailed reports from individual students.

My strong first impression, however, is that students have done a wonderful job of encapsulating the diversity of the subject of religion and the revolution. They examined leaders and military events, anti-Catholicism, poetry, treatment of Native Americans and the absence of their voices, port cities, revivals, the presence of politics in religious venues and the absence of “religion” in newspapers, and, importantly, slavery.  Two students asked versions of Morgan’s American Paradox question, long before we read the article. I couldn’t be more pleased with their work, which I think will be part of a lasting effort to which future students can contribute.

Since this is a DH project, we can produce, via Paper Machines and Zotero (our tools of choice), some early overviews.  Looking the whole corpus of data, the visualizations mostly show what students researched.

Screenshot 2016-04-02 08.54.35

We had fewer articles in the war years than at other points. Students were more drawn to the pre-war period, perhaps as a result of the class’s chronological focus; we’d spent more time on the “before” period.  Just as important, students’ interest in slavery and the south drew them to later periods, when there were more southern newspapers in the collection.

Topic modeling is an imperfect tool, but it points to the key facets here.  The blue bar, religion/great/state, seems at the macro level to point to a kind of religious patriotism that remained quite stable.  Similarly, the green bar, public/power/place, shows the importance of politics to our study.  The red and orange bars highlight political manifestations of the pre-war religious establishment. The orange “church/religion/christian” conversation is linked to the struggle with Britain, and fades after that. One suspects strongly that it would pick up significantly after 1789. The red bar, majesti/lord/London, is dominated by news from Europe and legal documents. (Lord is almost certainly as in Lord North, not Lord God.)  Again, that topic loses its place as time goes on.

Students found a lot on anti-Catholicism, even when they weren’t looking for it.  This visualization traces the word “papist” through the various topics.

Screenshot 2016-04-02 09.14.44

It is mostly encompassed in the majesti/lord/london bar, before the war and then transforms into the church/religion/christian topic after.   There are some great questions there too.

Slavery, the moral question that our class and country cannot and should not let go, was distributed too widely to be a separate topic.  The students will have some useful investigations into the specifics here.

Screenshot 2016-04-02 09.05.10

Last, here’s a word cloud.

Screenshot 2016-04-02 09.16.18

Most of the students chose to do word clouds for their visualizations. They’re the easiest, and students for whom Paper Machines didn’t work (Windows 10 machines) could get to them quickly through Voyant. But they also proved to be useful tools for students who were unfamiliar with any form of distant reading.  The students also found some interesting things there, and they’re pretty. I’m fine with that.

Tuesday we return to reading articles and documents.

44 Comments

  1. Katmu Sangu December 15, 2021 9:35 am  Reply

    I tend to ramble on this subject, somewhat incoherently, when people outside the field ask me what I study. But Thursday, blissfully, the students found a way to collectively frame the subject of religion and the Revolution in a way that was both reasonably comprehensive and spoke to questions of enduring import to the United States.

    agario unblocked

  2. agario unblocked December 16, 2021 11:28 am  Reply

    Various CD Club Promo Only April 2009 Part 1 agario unblocked Louise Candy Davis And Faith Better Than Blessed

  3. agario unblocked December 16, 2021 11:28 am  Reply

    Various CD Club Promo Only Apssssril 2009 Part 1 agario unblocked Louise Candy Davis And Faith Better Than Blessed

  4. agario December 16, 2021 11:29 am  Reply

    Various CD Club Promo Only April 2009 Part 1 agario unblocked Louise Candy Davis And Faith Better Than Blessed
    To prove you are a person (not a spam script), type the words from the following picture or audio file.

  5. Justiz December 17, 2021 11:55 am  Reply

    e or audio file.

    agario unblocked
    agario unblocked December 16, 2

    agario unblocked

  6. Hellum Caro December 17, 2021 11:56 am  Reply

    e or audio file.

    agario unblockedddd
    agario unblocked December 16, 2

    agario unblocked

  7. agaio.boston March 31, 2022 1:30 pm  Reply

    ım Play game agario.boston private server

    agario

  8. Agario March 31, 2022 1:31 pm  Reply

    ım Play game agario private server agario.id

    agario

  9. metin2 pvp serverler March 31, 2022 1:33 pm  Reply

    ım Play game agario private server agario private server

    agario private server

  10. Roger June 23, 2022 11:58 am  Reply

    All noted thanks .

  11. بي ان سبورت July 4, 2022 8:27 am  Reply

    بي ان سبورت تجديد اشتراك ودفع اشتراك بي ان سبورت الكويت

  12. emrns July 4, 2022 9:20 am  Reply

    نجار الكويت متخصص في جميع اعمال فتح ابواب – فتح بيبان الكويت

  13. mtom July 7, 2022 12:01 pm  Reply

    I must say, as a lot as I enjoyed reading what you had to say, I couldnt help but lose interest after a while. Its as if you had a wonderful grasp on the subject matter, but you forgot to include your readers. Perhaps you should think about this from far more than one angle. Or maybe you shouldnt generalise so considerably. Its better if you think about what others may have to say instead of just going for a gut reaction to the subject. Think about adjusting your own believed process and giving others who may read this the benefit of the doubt. Facboook

  14. mtom July 20, 2022 7:12 am  Reply

    Hi my loved one! I wish to say that this post is amazing, great written and come with almost all important infos. I would like to see more posts like this . slot gacor

  15. mtom July 21, 2022 9:48 am  Reply

    Thanks , I’ve just been searching for info about this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I have found out so far. But, what about the conclusion? Are you sure about the supply? pacuan kuda togel

  16. mtom July 21, 2022 12:37 pm  Reply

    You completed a number of nice points there. I did a search on the subject matter and found nearly all folks will go along with with your blog. cake she hits different

  17. mtom July 23, 2022 7:27 am  Reply

    I do not even know how I stopped up here, however I believed this post used to be great. I do not recognize who you are but certainly you’re going to a well-known blogger should you are not already Cheers! Prediksi Togel

  18. mtom July 26, 2022 6:58 am  Reply

    Hi my loved one! I wish to say that this post is amazing, great written and come with almost all important infos. I would like to see more posts like this . Rtp Slot Gacor

  19. John Moore July 31, 2022 4:47 pm  Reply

    Thanks for sharing this information. I have shared this link with others keep posting such information. As a final year student this material is helpful in more ways than one. Marketing Dissertations Regards, John

  20. mtom August 2, 2022 6:34 am  Reply

    Nice one for making the effort go over this particular, I think truly about this and consequently true love knowing more to do with that niche. Assuming would-be, any time you attain practical knowledge, would you ideas posting to any site by working with further important information? This is great for everyone. dominoqq

  21. mtom August 4, 2022 10:29 am  Reply

    Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers! Gospin123

  22. mtom August 6, 2022 10:46 am  Reply

    Good post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Bless you! jasa backlink terbaik

  23. mtom August 11, 2022 6:02 am  Reply

    I always visit your blog everyday to read new topics.,:~-~ Raw Garden Cart

  24. mtom August 20, 2022 10:42 am  Reply

    I must say, as a lot as I enjoyed reading what you had to say, I couldnt help but lose interest after a while. Its as if you had a good grasp to the subject matter, but you forgot to include your readers. Perhaps you should think about this from far more than one angle. Or maybe you shouldnt generalise so considerably. Its better if you think about what others may have to say instead of just heading for a gut reaction to the subject. Think about adjusting your own thought process and giving others who may read this the benefit of the doubt. Panen123

  25. mtom August 22, 2022 1:58 pm  Reply

    This is actually attractive, You’re particularly expert article author. I have signed up with your feed and additionally expect enjoying all of your really good write-ups. At the same time, I’ve shared the blog throughout our social networking sites. Juara99 Slot

  26. mtom September 5, 2022 10:31 am  Reply

    Good day! I simply wish to give a huge thumbs up for the great data you’ve got here on this post. I will probably be coming again to your weblog for more soon. Buy ammo at low cost

  27. mtom September 8, 2022 7:55 am  Reply

    Admiring the time and energy you put into your blog and in depth information you offer. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material. Fantastic read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account. Indobet88

  28. mtom September 13, 2022 10:54 am  Reply

    Hi my loved one! I wish to say that this post is amazing, great written and come with almost all important infos. I would like to see more posts like this . slot gacor

  29. mtom September 18, 2022 9:11 am  Reply

    Hello, Neat post. There is a problem with your website in internet explorer, could test this¡K IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a large portion of people will leave out your excellent writing due to this problem. gacor508

Leave a Reply