The Churches in a Period
WITH THE SURRENDER OF LORD CORNWALLIS AT YORKTOWN IN 1781, AMERIcan independence had at last been achieved. An American nation, however, waited to be born out of the conflict and confusion which characterized the opening years of autonomous rule. At the completion of independence, America was thirteen rather than one; the Articles of Confederation had, to be sure, established a loosely knit confederacy, but its power was in name only. The spirit of localism, forgotten for a time in the flush of revolutionary idealism, was once more abroad in the land. It manifested itself in a collection of sovereign states, dedicated primarily to the advancement of their own interests and loyal to the confederation only so far as it seemed advantageous. During this period which preceded the establishment of a stronger Federal government, a score of liberal ideas which had been brought to light during the Revolution saw fruition in the acts of various state legislatures. These revealed a developing process of democratization which would be carried forward in the Federal Constitution and the Bill of Rights. One of the forces which played a fundamental role in the democratic process was that of organized religion.