Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History



First Reader/Committee Chair

Karp, Michael. Ph.D., Dr.


This thesis examines why the relationship between government and religion should remain separated. By focusing on The Cold War and Ronald Reagan’s presidency (1981-1989), this thesis demonstrates Reagan’s administration marked a modern pointing that led to the rise of Christian Nationalism in American politics. The Cold War initially started modeling the puzzle pieces of what Christian Nationalism became, however it was during Regan’s presidency that the American public began to see white Evangelical religious leaders take prominent federal positions, the frequent use of different religious opportunistic tactics in presidential and governmental campaigns and witness religious rhetoric influence domestic as well as foreign policies.

The thesis incorporates evidence that includes personal correspondence, introductory forms to religious amendments and sections of Reagan’s personal diary. In addition, the use of newspaper clippings, speeches, and works of previous historians as further evidence to demonstrate why the separation of government and religion is crucial. This thesis argues that Evangelical Christians use their beliefs to influence a Christian worldview on American society in ways that directly violate the First amendment of the American constitution. With that, Reagan’s administration—along with prominent evangelical religious leaders’—often ignored the nation’s religious diversity. As Reagan’s administration skyrocketed Christian Nationalism to new heights never seen before, the genesis that sparked Christian Nationalism blurred the lines between church and state and conservative American politics.