Laying Claim to a Christian America: Evangelical Narratives of Exceptionalism

  • Karl Martin Point Loma Nazarene University
Keywords: American Exceptionalism, Christian America, Christian Right


This essay examines The Light and the Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Sounding Forth the Trumpet—a trilogy of historical narratives written by Peter Marshall and David Manuel—to elucidate their rhetorical structures. Special attention is given to the way the narratives adhere to the structure of the American jeremiad as defined by Sacvan Bercovitch and how they are informed by apocalyptic providentialism as defined by Nicholas Guyatt. Revealing the narrative structures allows us to see how the authors merge God’s salvation history with the secular history of the United States and, thereby, treat American history as sacred. By understanding historical narratives such as the ones constructed by Marshall and Manuel, we can better understand how a large portion of the United States population understands themselves and their nation’s role in history.