Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism

Front Cover
Paw Prints, Oct 20, 2008 - History - 417 pages
12 Reviews
"Jacoby accomplishes her task with clarity, thoroughness, and an engaging passion."
-Los Angeles Times Book Review

At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage that gave Americans the first government in the world founded not on the authority of religion but on the bedrock of human reason. In impassioned, elegant prose, celebrated author Susan Jacoby traces more than two hundred years of secularist activism, beginning with the fierce debate over the omission of God from the Constitution. Moving from nineteenth-century abolitionism and suffragism through the twentieth century's civil liberties, civil rights, and feminist movements, Freethinkers illuminates the neglected achievements of secularists who, allied with tolerant believers, have led the battle for reform in the past and today.

Rich with such iconic figures as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Paine, and the once-famous Robert Green Ingersoll, Freethinkers restores to history the passionate humanists who struggled against those who would undermine the combination of secular government and religious liberty that is the glory of the American system.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bibleblaster - LibraryThing

A fascinating walk through American history from the perspective of "infidels, atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, deists, heretics." Made me think once again of how people are defined in terms of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cdogzilla - LibraryThing

The great tradition of American Freethought is sadly neglected. I'm not sure I read about Darrow or Paine in school -- maybe Paine, in passing -- but certainly not Ingersoll. If I hadn't sought out ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Susan Jacoby is the author of five books including Wild Justice, a Pulitzer Prize finalist. A contributor to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsday, and Vogue, she lives in New York City.

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