A Protestant is a "member of the parts of the Christian Church that separated from the Roman Catholic Church during the 16th century" (Cambridge Dictionary). Protestantism itself is subdivided into many different denominations with equally varied and often competing doctrinal views. However, Protestantism broadly is defined by the belief in the Bible as the sole religious authority, the right of all to read the Bible in their vernacular language, and salvation by faith alone rather than by the keeping of sacraments or participation in church traditions (Wikipedia).

Protestantism in the United States flourished after both the First and Second Great Awakenings in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries respectively. As a large and therefore diverse category, Protestantism in the nineteenth century was associated with many different ideas and movements, including educational reform and the expansion of institutions of higher learning, as well as varied social and political movements including both pro and anti-slavery arguments, immigration, westward expansion, and temperance to name just a few. Protestantism's egalitarian appeal to all persons, and many of its denominations permission of laymen to serve in church government, appealed to many Americans and led to its explosive growth. However, many have also linked Protestantism to exclusion and oppression due to race, class, gender, and sexuality. Beyond just a religious identification, Protestantism is also associated as having influenced society, politics, education, and culture (Britannica; Howe, What Hath God Wrought; Wikipedia).

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