The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 168
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ural Religion and Religious Democracy to the Reformation."
This debt, he holds, is owed directly to the left wing of Protes-
tantism, the non-state-supported sects, and only indirectly to the
right wing, the established churches, with which the great figures
of the Reformation are associated. The ideas of left-wing Protes-
tantism found a peculiarly favorable environment in colonial
America and were in time translated into its institutions.
The complete separation of church and state and the winning
of religious liberty, which Dr. Sweet regards as "one of the
greatest contributions if not the greatest one, which America
has made in the realm of politics as well as in religion," have
been largely taken for granted by both historian and layman.
The historian may refer in passing to such matters as the Mary-
land Toleration Act, the pioneering experiments of the Quakers
in Pennsylvania and Roger Williams in Rhode Island, the Vir-
ginia Statute on Religious Freedom, and the provision of the
First Amendment to the Constitution limiting the power of
Congress to make laws respecting the establishment of religion
or abridging the free exercise thereof. But the treatment of these
matters is almost always casual, and the student gets little under-
standing of how religious freedom actually developed in America.
Dr. Sweet has thus performed a real service in providing this
masterful, brief account of the creation in America of an environ-
ment favorable to religious freedom and of the influence of the
ideas of John Locke, Joseph Priestley, and other natural reli-
gionists on the revolutionary fathers who advanced the cause of
liberty of conscience.
The historian, who delights in finding cases where his craft
has made a contribution of practical value, will welcome the
essay on Methodist unification, for, as Dr. Sweet points out, it
was only after the development of historical-mindedness among
Methodist leaders and the writing of objective histories of Meth-
odism that unification was achieved. Books like American Cul-
ture and Religion should do much to supply the sort of historical-
mindedness which is necessary to preserve previously won gains
and make possible new advances in the never-ending struggle for
BETTY BROOKE EAKLE
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/188/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.