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The True Con

In June, an announcer on CBS observed, “George Will is essentially unchanged from the way he looked forty years ago.” He still wears Brooks Brothers. He still parts his hair on the left. And in politics, while lesser men have compromised with the ascendancy of ­Donald Trump, Will has stayed . . . . Continue Reading »

By Starlight Undiminished

On behalf of the Second Continental Congress in declaring America’s independence, Jefferson in the first paragraph of the Declaration drew upon authority greater than the Crown, the British Empire, and the long traditions of English law and government. “With a firm Reliance on the protection of . . . . Continue Reading »

We Can’t Be Silent

In 1787, at the age of eighty-one, Benjamin Franklin addressed the Constitutional Convention: “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his . . . . Continue Reading »

Thanking the Puritans on Thanksgiving

There’s little less fashionable today than praising the Puritans, especially for their egalitarian political idealism, their promotion of genuinely humane and liberating learning, and their capacity for enjoyment and human happiness. Praising the Puritans is especially difficult for us because . . . . Continue Reading »

Founding Believers

What were the religious beliefs of the founding fathers? That question is at the heart of many of the most contentious debates about the role of religion in the American public square. Countless arguments are centered on claims that the founders were either God-fearing Christians or Deistically-inclined secularists. But while historical documents are often mined for justifying quotes, few people bother to muster historical evidence to shore up their claims with the necessary academic rigor… . Continue Reading »

Publick Religion: Adams v. Jefferson

The civic catechisms of our day still celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s experiment in religious liberty. To end a millennium of repressive religious establishments, we are taught, Jefferson sought liberty in the twin formulas of privatizing religion and secularizing politics. Religion must be “a . . . . Continue Reading »

The Faith of the Founding

My colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, Walter Berns, has written that the philosophy of John Locke was decisive in the American founding. According to Berns, Locke’s disguised but unmistakable aims were to break with the traditional Christian understanding of nature and to drive . . . . Continue Reading »

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