A Christian and a Democrat: A Religious Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt

A Christian and a Democrat: A Religious Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt

John Woolverton and James Bratt

With an Introduction by James Comey

When asked at a press conference about the roots of his political philosophy, President Franklin Roosevelt responded, “I am a Christian and a Democrat.” This volume—part of the popular and widely acclaimed Library of Religious Biography series—tells the story of how the first informed the second, showing how FDR’s upbringing in the Episcopal Church and education at the Groton School under legendary headmaster and minister Endicott Peabody formed him into a leader whose politics were fundamentally shaped by the social gospel.

“Woolverton masterfully demonstrates that to understand the Roosevelt presidency, we need to understand how the president’s Christian conceptions of faith, hope, and love shaped his policies and his views of the world.”  — Matthew A. Sutton

A work begun by religious historian John Woolverton (1926-2014) and recently completed by James Bratt, A Christian and a Democrat is an engaging analysis of the surprisingly significant religious life of one of the most important presidents in US history. Reading Woolverton’s account of FDR’s response to the toxic demagoguery of his day will reassure readers today that a constructive way forward is possible for Christians, for Americans, for the world.

Read the excerpt here.

John F. Woolverton (1926–2014) was professor of church history at Virginia Theological Seminary, a pastor in the Episcopal Church, and longtime editor of the journal Anglican and Episcopal History.

James D. Bratt is professor emeritus of history at Calvin College and the author of Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat and Dutch Calvinism in Modern America.


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