The Faiths of the Founding Fathers

Oxford University Press, 1 mai 2006 - 240 pages
It is not uncommon to hear Christians argue that America was founded as a Christian nation. But how true is this claim? In this compact book, David L. Holmes offers a clear, concise and illuminating look at the spiritual beliefs of our founding fathers. He begins with an informative account of the religious culture of the late colonial era, surveying the religious groups in each colony. In particular, he sheds light on the various forms of Deism that flourished in America, highlighting the profound influence this intellectual movement had on the founding generation. Holmes then examines the individual beliefs of a variety of men and women who loom large in our national history. He finds that some, like Martha Washington, Samuel Adams, John Jay, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson's daughters, held orthodox Christian views. But many of the most influential figures, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John and Abigail Adams, Jefferson, James and Dolley Madison, and James Monroe, were believers of a different stripe. Respectful of Christianity, they admired the ethics of Jesus, and believed that religion could play a beneficial role in society. But they tended to deny the divinity of Christ, and a few seem to have been agnostic about the very existence of God. Although the founding fathers were religious men, Holmes shows that it was a faith quite unlike the Christianity of today's evangelicals. Holmes concludes by examining the role of religion in the lives of the presidents since World War II and by reflecting on the evangelical resurgence that helped fuel the reelection of George W. Bush. An intriguing look at a neglected aspect of our history, the book will appeal to American history buffs as well as to anyone concerned about the role of religion in American culture.

Table des matières

1 Religion in the American Colonies in 1770
2 The Anglican Tradition and the Virginia Founding Fathers
3 The Enlightenment Religion of Deism
4 The Founding Fathers and Deism
5 The Religious Views of Benjamin Franklin
6 The Religious Views of George Washington
7 The Religious Views of John Adams
8 The Religious Views of Thomas Jefferson
11 The Wives and Daughters of the Founding Fathers
12 A Laypersons Guide to Distinquishing a Deist from an Orthodox Christian
13 Three Orthodox Christians
14 The Past Is a Foreign Country
Illustration Credits

9 The Religious Views of James Madison
10 The Religious Views of James Monroe

Autres éditions - Tout afficher

Expressions et termes fréquents

Fréquemment cités

Page 12 - ROCK of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee! Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure — Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

À propos de l'auteur (2006)

David L. Holmes is Walter G. Mason Professor of Religious Studies at the College of William and Mary. He is the author of A Brief History of the Episcopal Church, A Nation Mourns, other books, and numerous articles.

Informations bibliographiques