Religion and Politics in Europe and the United States compares the dynamic relationships between religion and public life in the United States and Europe from the early modern era to today by examining a series of public issues for which religious arguments have often been crucial. Recognizing the discrete roles religion plays in American and European politics, the project presents a portrait of its historical influences on the development of law, technology, ethnicity, war, and perceptions of democracy.

Religion and Politics in Europe and the United States explores how discourses on both side of the Atlantic have diverged due to the varying roles of religion. The book traces the influences of religion and politics from early modern religiously based legitimization of European monarchy and American democracy, to today's historical perspectives on the problem of religion and terrorism. The contributors—political scientists, historians, and sociologists from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Austria—shed a uniquely transnational light on the debates that have shaped the world we currently live in, from capital punishment to concepts of ethnicity to religions in conflict.

Volker Depkat is a professor of American studies at the University of Regensburg. Jürgen Martschukat is a professor of North American history at the University of Erfurt.


1. Introduction: Religion and Politics in Europe and the United States 1
Volker Depkat and Jürgen Martschukat

Part I. State Formation
2. Commitment and Competition: A Religion Enlightenment in Revolutionary America 17
Frank Kelleter
3. The Lingering Death of the Most Christian King: Pious Monarchs, Secular States, and Divided Societies in Europe,1814–1851 45
Michael Broers

Part II. Punishment
4. Multiple Sanctions: Crime, Punishment, and Ideology in Early America 69
Daniel A. Cohen
5. The Religious Discourse on Criminal Law in England, 1600–1800: From a Theology of Trial to a Theology of Punishment 107
André Krischer
6. Between Moral Certainty and Morally Certain: The Religious Debate over the Death Penalty in the United States 127
Anthony Santoro

Part III. Science
7. Fraternal Twins: American Science and American Religion 147
James Gilbert
8. Science, Religion, and the Modern State: A View from the History of Science 163
Ronald E. Doel
9. Science versus Religion: The Process of Secularization in the GDR as a Specific Response to the Challenges of Modernity 187
Monika Wohlrab-Sahr and Thomas Schmidt-Lux

Part IV. Identity and Politics
10. Jewish Identity in Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Europe 221
Klaus Hödl
11. Cultural and Political Images of American Jews in the Mid-Twentieth Century 243
Michelle Mart

Part V. Violence and World Affairs
12. Religious Violence in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century American History? 269
Michael Hochgeschwender
13. New Wars, Old Motives? On the Role of Religion in International Relations 291
Gerlinde Groitl
14. “Heaven Is under Our Feet”: Contextualizing Faith, Religion, and Politics in the Post-9/11 Era 311
Volker Depkat and Jürgen Martschukat


"The essays in this volume present the results of excellent scholarship and offer new insights on the basis of original research. Furthermore, the authors contributing to this volume come from both sides of the Atlantic. As a result, the readers receive a comprehensive account both of recent American as well as European research."—Harmut Lehmann, Director Emeritus, Max Planck Institute of History, Göttingen