God’s Country: Christian Zionism in America

The United States is Israel’s closest ally in the world. Some point to the nefarious influence of a powerful “Israel lobby” within the halls of Congress. Others detect the hand of evangelical Protestants who fervently support Israel for their own theological reasons. Samuel Goldman proposes another explanation. The political culture of the United States, he argues, has been marked from the very beginning by a Christian theology that views the American nation as deeply implicated in the historical fate of biblical Israel. God’s Country is the first book to tell the complete story of Christian Zionism in American political and religious thought from the Puritans to 9/11. It identifies three sources of American Christian support for a Jewish state: covenant, or the idea of an ongoing relationship between God and the Jewish people; prophecy, or biblical predictions of return to The Promised Land; and cultural affinity, based on shared values and similar institutions. Combining original research with insights from the work of historians of American religion, Goldman crafts a provocative narrative that chronicles Americans’ attachment to the State of Israel.

Samuel Goldman is an assistant professor of Political Science at the George Washington University, where he is Director of the Politics & Values Program and Executive Director of the Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom. Before coming to GW, he received his Ph.D. from Harvard and was a postdoctoral fellow in Religion, Ethics & Politics at Princeton. In addition to his book, he has published scholarly essays on Reinhold Niebuhr, Leo Strauss, Alexis de Tocqueville and other thinkers. Goldman also serves as literary editor of Modern Age: A Conservative Review. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Review, First Things, The Jewish Review of Books, and many other publications.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.

Speakers

Moderator

  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center
  • Eric Arnesen

    Fellow
    Professor of History, The George Washington University

Speakers

  • Samuel Goldman

    Executive Director of the Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom, George Washington University