It was difficult, for instance, to understand the diversity of religious affiliations. In Europe the established church was universal; only a few outsiders dissented. Here a vast variety of sects divided the population, and did so according to no meaningful pattern of social, economic, or sectional status. In outward aspect, in occupations, in respectability, one could not distinguish the members of one denomination from another. All these people furthermore associated with each other on terms of complete equality. There seemed no reason therefore why a man should not change his church as freely as his hat. Indeed, to the immigrants it seemed the Americans were perilously near doing so all the time.
- from pages 113-114, The Emergence of Modern America