Reprinted for the first time since 1890, this newly typeset edition of Rev. Edward J. Giddings’s biographies of nearly 200 American statesmen recalls a time in American history when the citizens of this republic made no distinction between the personal morality and public service of their leaders.
Based on the private testimony and eyewitness accounts of the personal lives of these men—spanning from colonial governors and representatives to United States Senators and Presidents—Giddings’s diverse collection of the Christian character that indwelled our marble halls of state for over two centuries demonstrates the former greatness of our nation, and now acts as a clarion call to renew our political integrity in a corruption-laden 21st century.
From the editors:
During the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998, many left-wing critics argued that the President’s personal morality had no impact on his policies—that a good man was a not required to be a good president. This perspective is even more prevalent today, and most Americans can unfortunately expect their leaders to lead private lives of infidelity, excess, and moral deviance.
But just over a hundred years ago, Americans rejected any dichotomy between the closet morals and political actions of their leaders. As Rev. Edward J. Giddings’s American Christian Rulers attests, citizens who lived during the nascent years of the American republic saw a clear connection between the private faith and public faithfulness of a man. Recognizing that the only sure foundation for a prosperous country lay in sound Christian virtue, they accordingly elected men for their personal professions just as much as their political platforms.
In this diverse collection of nearly 200 biographies culled from two centuries of American leadership—from colonial legislatures to the White House—Rev. Giddings establishes a convincing case that the United States was a Christian nation not just because of the institutions she boasted, but because of the lives her people led.
In this cynical age, however, some may discredit Giddings’s work by claiming that politicians will profess to believe anything in order to garner votes—that the statesmen under discussion here could have faked their Christian walks just as easily as Newt Gingrich, Mark Sanford, John Ensign, John Edwards, and David Vitter have done in our own age.
But with its pages informed by private testimonies and eyewitness accounts of the personal lives of these men, American Christian Rulers contradicts this facile criticism. If these men faked Christianity, they were brilliant method actors that never fell out of character, even well past their tenures in old age and in the privacy of their own homes.
This classic exposé of nearly 200 great American statesmen testifies to the genuine faith of our nation’s fledgling days: that Christianity was the foundation of our public service, that an overwhelmingly Christian populace exercised uncontestable political pressure over the civic character of the country, and that America ascended to greatness because of—and not despite—her Christian foundation.
This book is not just fascinating reading. It is a call to modern Christian voters to demand more than just fiscal conservatism and balanced budgets from our leaders, and a call to politicians to return to single-minded, unimpeachable integrity. It is a memorial now in great danger of being forgotten—of what made America great, and what can make her great again.Author: Edward J. Giddings
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