Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Religion in the Oval OfficeThe Religious Lives of American Presidents$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Gary Scott Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199391394

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391394.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 24 May 2019



(p.1) Introduction
Religion in the Oval Office

Gary Scott Smith

Oxford University Press

Since George Washington, faith has played a very important and often controversial role in the lives of American presidents. Nevertheless, few scholars have carefully analyzed how chief executives’ religious convictions affected their lives, policies, or decisions. Substantial evidence contradicts the frequent claim that a president’s faith matters little in how he governs. Throughout American history many citizens have viewed strong faith as an asset, if not a requirement, for politicians, especially presidents. Most Americans have expected the president to uphold the nation’s highest values and to serve as its moral leader. Many argue that the presidents’ character is as or more significant than their intellect, administrative abilities, or speaking talents. While paying close attention to historical contexts and shifting social and moral values, the book explores the lives, beliefs, character, use of religious rhetoric, policies, elections, and relationships with religious constituencies of eleven of America’s more colorful, charismatic, and complex leaders.

Keywords:   faith, religious convictions, moral values, character, religious rhetoric, religious constituencies, elections, policies

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .