Saturday, September 10, 2011

Our Constitutional Political Theology

There is much information as to our Puritan founding, promoted by secularist historians no less, however let's not forget the framers themselves. Earlier, I commented on one of Jon Rowe's posts regarding John Locke. Here is another quote from Jon I find interesting:
A while back we noted Mark Noll among others took Schaeffer to task for his arguable misunderstanding of the American Founding. Schaeffer wrongly credits Samuel Rutherford with the ideas for the American Founding. America's Founders didn't cite Rutherford, but Locke for these propositions. And Locke didn't cite Rutherford either.

[And yes, I know of the tradition of resistance among Calvinists, though not Calvin himself, that almost certainly, in some meaningful way, influenced the American Founding.]
Before I mention the secular historians, I want to quote Luther Martin at the Constitutional Convention:
In order to prove that individuals in a State of nature are equally free & independent he read passages from..Vattel, Lord Summers--Priestly. To prove that the case is the same with States till they surrender their equal sovereignty, he read other passages in..Vattel, and also Rutherford: that the States being equal cannot treat or confederate so as to give up an equality of votes without giving up their liberty.
--June 27, 1787. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 [Farrand's Records, Volume 1]. MADISON Wednesday June 27. in Convention.

Without quoting all the founding fathers that our rights come from Jesus Christ and Christianity, here is Foremost Professor and British historian of the United States Jack Richon Pole:

It isn't surprising to claim the idea of popular sovereignty and representative government by the Colonists of the 1760's was not influenced, as is generally believed, by the political theology of John Locke.
--Political representation in England and the origins of the American Republic (Macmillan 1966). H. Trevor Colborum, Thomas Jefferson's Use of the Past, "William and Mary Quarterly" Jan. 1958, 56-70.

Another famous secularist says the same thing:
Very little evidence exists to suggest that Locke exerted any effective influence on the political thought of the Colonists until Thomas Jefferson came to draft the DOI. 
--The Declaration of Independence (New York, 1922; reprinted New York, 1959), Chap. ii; H. Trevor Colbourn, "Thomas Jefferson's Use of the Past" "William and Mary Quarterly" Jan. 1958, 56-70.

In our founding documents, no other foundation but Covenantal Puritanism was the predominant theory. Here, the noted former Emeritus Professor at Columbia:

From the Bay Colony came the great intellectual leaders, the theologians who became the leaders … in the establishment of New England colonies… Nor was its influence restricted to New England, for its ideals and aspirations… became the dominant influence in the development of the United States.
--Joseph Dorfman, The Economic Mind in American Civilization, vol. 1, ch.3

Even Robert N. Bellah notes, Puritanism was the foundation for our constitutionalism, what he coined, our "civil religion."

Prominent 19th Century historian Alex d'Tocqueville did not give Enlightenment Rationalism, or John Locke, the influence modern historians do, but understood Puritan Covenant Theology the main impetus for social theology that spread throughout the new nation:
In was in the English colonies… better known as the states of New England, that the two or three main principles now forming the basic social theory of the United States were combined. New England principles spread first to the neighboring states and then…to those more distant, finally penetrating everywhere… Their influence now extends beyond its limits over the whole American world…”
--Alex d’Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Book I, ch. 2.

Is it no less a surprise that the political leader of the Revolution was a Calvinist Puritan; speaking for the new nation? The Declaration of Independence is a Puritan compact:
The people of this country, alone, have formally and deliberately chosen a government for themselves, and with open and uninfluenced consent bound themselves into a social compact. Here no man proclaims his birth or wealth as a title to honorable distinction, or to sanctify ignorance and vice with the name of hereditary authority. He who has most zeal and ability to promote public felicity, let him be the servant of the public. This is the only line of distinction drawn by nature.
--Samuel Adams, An ORATION Delivered at the State-House, In PHILADELPHIA, To A Very Numerous AUDIENCE; On THURSDAY the 1st of AUGUST 1776.

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