American Stoicism

  • Kenneth E. Morris


“Our government makes no sense,” President Dwight D. Eisenhower once remarked, “unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith—and I don’t care what it is.”1 Long used to illustrate theexistence of an American “civil religion”—the vague but palpable collective quasi-religious creed transcending the country’s variety of sectarian traditions2 —the remark is a good illustration. By declaring that religious faith is central to American life while simultaneously distinguishing that faith from all specific instances of religiosity, Eisenhower culls the civil dimension of the collective faith from its various sectarian moorings. Yet, it doesn’t follow from its eclectic foundation that the American civil religion is without content. In fact, Eisenhower believed it rich with content, which he described in numerous magazine articles and speeches.3 In these he repeatedly argued that the two values he considered fundamental to American life, freedom and equality, could ultimately only be affirmed by faith.


Religious Faith Civic Participation Romantic Love Consumer Society Domestic Life 
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4 American Stoicism

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© Kenneth E. Morris 2014

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  • Kenneth E. Morris

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