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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 But while historical documents are often mined for justifying quotes, few people bother to muster historical evidence to shore up their claims with the necessary academic rigor… .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 »

Founding Fathers?

John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Francis J. Bremer.Oxford University Press. 478 pp. $39.95. William Bradford's Books: Of Plimmoth Plantation and the Printed Douglas AndersonJohn Hopkins University Press. 280 pp. $45. John Winthrop was forty-two years old when in 1630 he joined . . . . 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 »

The American Mind

The Public Square Students of the political philosopher Leo Strauss are fond of quoting the master to the effect that the American polity is built on foundations that are low but solid. When the discussion turns to the constituting ideas undergirding our political institutions, and the ideas that . . . . Continue Reading »

John Paul II on the American Experiment

In receiving the credentials of the Honorable Lindy Boggs as Ambassador to the Holy See on December 16, 1997, Pope John Paul II offered some pointed comments on the “credibility” of the United States and its world leadership. Herewith the complete text of a statement that bears close reading. . . . . Continue Reading »

Consequences of Columbus

Just when we were convinced that Newsweek, like its counterpart Time, is an essentially superficial magazine for hurried people who want information without having to think, the mail brought the Fall/Winter 1991 Columbus Special Issue. Produced in collaboration with the “Seeds of . . . . Continue Reading »

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