Half a year before this paper was read before a plenary session of the American Academy of Religion (26 October 1969), the program committee had requested an essay dealing in some comprehensive way with the field of American religious history. Because I would in any case have to be thinking about the introduction to my own “religious history of the American people,” I agreed.The title was sufficiently broad; and goodness knows the problems of this subject area are sufficiently large.1 Aside from innumerable large and small questions of fact there are the countless questions of emphasis and interpretation, not to mention the problem of discerning an overarching theme. I also confess great sympathy with Max Lerner's comment on the ten years he spent on America as a Civilization (1957). “I found when I came to the end of the decade,” he said, “that a number of things I had written about America were no longer valid. The American civilization had been changing drastically right under my fingertips as I was writing about it.”2 The present-day historian's predicament is, if anything, more difficult than Lerner's in that the sixties, by contrast with the fifties, have experienced a veritable earthquake of revisionism which has profoundly altered our interpretation of the entire course of American history. By reason of its screaming moral dilemmas, moreover, the decade had an especially rude impact on long accepted views of religious history. But enough of this: let us consider the substantive questions.