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American Fervour (3/4)


This is also part of this series: American Future, The - A History by Simon Schama (4)


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Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: BBC
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 50 mins
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Study Guide:

Copyright Date: 2008
Available in French: No

Simon Schama explores the ways in which faith has shaped American political life. His starting point is a remarkable fact about the coming election: for the first time in a generation it's the Democrats who claim to be the party of God. It's Barack Obama, not John McCain, whose been talking about his faith.

The British have long regarded American religion as largely a conservative force, yet Simon shows how, throughout American history, it has played a crucial role in the fight for freedom.

Faith helped create America; it was the search for religious freedom that led thousands to make the dangerous journey to the colonies in the 1600s. After American independence, that religious freedom was enshrined in the Constitution, the first country in the world to do so.

Simon also looks at the remarkable role the black church has played, first in the liberation of the slaves in the 1800s, and again in the civil rights movement of the Sixties – neither would have happened without it. It's this very church that has been the inspiration for Barack Obama, who traces the roots of his political inspiration to his faith.