The American Constitution firmly separates church and state. Yet religion lies at the heart of American politics. How did America become a nation with the soul of a church? InHellfire Nation, James Morone recasts American history as a moral epic. From the colonial era to the present day, Americans embraced a Providential mission, tangled with devils, and aspired to save the world.Moral fervor ignited our fiercest social conflicts-but it also moved dreamers to remake the nation in the name of social justice. Moral crusades inspired abolition, woman suffrage, and civil rights, even as they led Americans to hang witches, enslave Africans, and ban liquor. Today these moral arguments continue, influencing the debate over everything from abortion to foreign policy.Written with passion and deep insight,Hellfire Nationtells the story of a brawling, raucous, religious people. Morone shows how fears of sin and dreams of virtue defined the shape of the nation.