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Kidd, a prolific historian who specializes in American religious history.
Benjamin Franklin’s character , for instance, asks at one point, “Is it worse to follow Mahomet than the devil?
” His readers automatically assumed that both were just as bad.
I can only allude to it in a very general way and offer three examples.
But first, we must roll out the main platform on which various views of the Last Days (eschatology) played out.
This new religion was, “a Medley made up of Judaism, the several Heresies of the Christians and then in the East, and the old Pagan Rites of the Arabs, with an indulgence to all Sensual Delights.” Not by coincidence, he noted, Muhammad claimed divine revelation through the angel Gabriel at the time when the Bishop of Rome claimed supremacy over the whole church.
This was a common association in colonial America and into the nineteenth century—that is the Roman Church and Islam as dual Antichrists.
With all the backlog of anti-Islamic rhetoric swirling around in American discourse, it is not difficult to guess that the new political reality was only going to make it more intense and more strident.
On the one side, a president who personally identified with conservative Protestants but who also took his leadership role seriously, George W.
American diplomats, meanwhile, were showing their inexperience, and an agreement signed in 1796 to free eighty-eight American sailors cost the new government one million dollars, over fifteen percent of its annual budget. President James Madison, this time in command of a more formidable navy, managed to force all of the North African states to give up all piracy against American ships.
American military power had now come of age, but only after several decades of anxiety about the Muslim corsairs of the Mediterranean.