Liberal Kentucky, 1780-1828

Liberal Kentucky, 1780-1828

Liberal Kentucky, 1780-1828

Liberal Kentucky, 1780-1828

Excerpt

My original purpose in this work was to discuss infidelity in Kentucky, following the plan of G. Adolph Koch, in his Republican Religion. Upon a survey of the materials available, however, I found this to be quite impracticable. The remains of eighteenth-century deism in early Kentucky are much less extensive than in the East. The existence of a very substantial body of liberal thought, some of which may be called infidel, is far more impressive. In Kentucky, this thought was held by and expressed by the political and social leadership of the community. This leadership attempted to make such thought that of the state, through seizing control of the state-owned Transylvania University. The actual career of liberal thought became, through this step, completely involved in the whole life of the state, political, social and economic. While liberalism had a body of able and influential friends, it also had its enemies, chief of whom were the Presbyterian clergy. Because of the vigor of their opposition, liberalism was finally destroyed. I will concern myself in this work with the analysis of such liberal and infidel thought as was to be found in the state prior to 1828, with the efforts to make this thought permanently dominant, and with the events which led to its destruction.

I have found very few works dealing with the subjects herein discussed. No previous discussion of Kentucky liberalism and infidelity has appeared. Of eminent Kentucky liberals, Dr. Joseph Buchanan has alone been discussed, by J. Woodbridge Riley , in his American Philosophy, the Early Schools . . .

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