Calvinism is the theological system of John Calvin who exerted international influence on the development of the
doctrine of the Protestant Reformation (Warfield, 2004). Calvin and his followers marked by strong emphasis on the
sovereignty of God, the depravity of mankind, and the doctrine of predestination. This system was developed as a
biblical Christianity. It has stirred countries such as Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, England and America.
Calvinist theology spread rapidly, and became the basis for many protestant denominations. These included the Swiss
Reformed Church, The Dutch Reformed Church, The English Puritans, The French Huguenots, The Presbyterian and
Congregational Churches, The Baptist Churches, and through them the Pentecostal Churches and Assemblies of God.
Jansenism, a Catholic form of Calvinism, was condemned as heretical in 1653.
The central assertion of Calvinism canons is that God is able to save from the tyranny of sin, from guilt and the fear
of death, every one of those upon whom he is willing to have mercy. God is not frustrated by the unrighteousness or
the inability of men because it is the unrighteous and the helpless that he intends to save. In Calvinism man, in his
state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that, which is good and well pleasing to God; but yet
mutably, so that he might fall from it. This concept of free choice makes Calvinism to stand supreme among all the
religious systems of the world. The great men of our country often were members of Calvinist Church. We had the
number of Presbyterian presidents, legislators, jurists, authors, editors, teachers and businessmen. The revolutionary
principles of republican liberty and self-government, taught and embodied in the system of Calvin were brought to
America and in this new land where they have borne so mighty a harvest were planted by the hands of the Calvinists.
In this essay we will discuss the role of Calvinism in American History, especially in Jacksonian era.
Calvinism came to America with the Pilgrim Fathers. It gained strong adherence in the Presbyterian Church in
American colonies, during the 17th and 18th centuries. Presbyterians took a very prominent part in the American
Revolution of 1776. By 1800 Calvinist church had roughly split into an orthodox wing and a liberal wing. The liberals
had been strongly influenced by enlightenment ideas. The background for political and religious reforms was built.
New era of American history had started.
The Jacksonian era was a precursor to the greater extension of such philosophies and tactics in the post-Civil War era,
as evidenced by the actions and policies of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Ronald
Reagan. After 1815 Americans transformed the republic of the Founding Fathers into a democracy. State after state
revoked property qualifications for voting and holding office - thus transforming Jefferson’s republic of property
holders into Andrew Jackson’s mass democracy (Halbrooks, 2004). Andrew Jackson was the first President not to