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Melton (Institute for the Study of American Religion, Santa Barbara, California) begins with over 400 native religions being practiced at the time of European contact. He then discusses the initial colonization and religious pioneers, how religious groups dealt with their new dependence on voluntary member support and the forces leading to the Civil War, the emergence of fundamentalism and its development up to current controversies, and the leap in religious pluralism at the end of the 20th century.
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