I’m watching a video every other day or so from this series which focuses on the early history of Anglo-Protestants and traces the historical arc from the origins of Calvinism during the Reformation to its spread through Britain and Ireland to the settlement of the American colonies and the English Civil War and ultimately through the Great Awakening and Enlightenment to the American Revolution.
Each video in this series adds a new cultural layer to the story. We’re crossing into the 18th century now when Puritanism and Presbyterianism began to lose steam before the Great Awakening and the rise of evangelical Protestantism. The full series shines a bright spotlight on how these supposedly “universal” ideas we associate with the American Founding organically developed out of English and Scottish culture and history and specifically out of the Calvinist branch of the Protestant tradition.
Episode 1: Bruce Gore starts the series by asking why the descendants of Puritan colonists in New England and Scots-Irish Presbyterians in the backcountry played such a starring role in the American Revolution. The obvious answer is their religious and cultural background.
Episode 2: Bruce Gore traces the seeds of radical republicanism back to John Calvin’s theology.
Episode 3: Bruce Gore traces the spread of Calvinism from Geneva to England and Scotland and explains how John Knox and George Buchanan fleshed out a political edifice upon Calvin’s theology.
Episode 4: Bruce Gore explains how Puritan colonists in New England and Scots-Irish Presbyterians in the backcountry transplanted their culture to North America in the 17th century which was an age of major religious turmoil in England, Scotland and Ireland.
Episode 5: Bruce Gore focuses on the Scots and the persecution of Presbyterians in Scotland that followed the Stuart Restoration in the late 17th century. This sparked a wave of migration to the American colonies which began to change their religious demographics.
Episode 6: Bruce Gore focuses on three waves of Calvinists who settled in the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries – the New England Puritans, Scot Presbyterians and Scots-Irish Presbyterians – and how religious dissenters who rejected the Anglican Church who had a long history of clashing with the Anglican establishment became the demographic majority in colonial America.
In this video, Bruce Gore looks at the years around 1700 and the background of the Great Awakening which transformed the religious landscape of the American colonies in the 18th century.