Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Religion of the Founding Fathers

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Religion of the Founding Fathers

Article excerpt

DAVID L. HOLMES. The Religion of the Founding Fathers. Charlottesville, Virginia, and Ann Arbor, Michigan: Ash Lawn-Highland and the Clements Library, 2003. Pp. 132, illustrations, select bibliography, index. $8.00 (paper).

This book by a distinguished church historian is a useful introduction to the difficult question of the religious views of the Founding Fathers. One uses the word "difficult" because this question has become a political football in the culture wars of the past twenty-five years, with some secularists claiming the Fathers were anti-clerical, anti-ecclesiastical agnostics, or even atheists, and some evangelicals trying to turn them into born-again Christians. Holmes in this helpful little book eschews both extremes and shows how the religious landscape of the day was actually more complicated than this simplistic political/cultural battle would have us believe.

Holmes explains the views, so far as evidence indicates, of Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe (the last an interesting addition since he is not usually put in the same category as the other five). His conclusion is that essentially all were Deists, but not the same type of Deist. One of the most valuable features of the book is Holmes' explanation of the differing varieties of Deism. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.