Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gordon Wood on the Founders and Judeo-Christianity

Gordon Wood, one of the most renowned historians of early America, weighs in on the role that "Judeo-Christian thought" had on the formation of the American republic:

Wood, who is primarily known for his ground-breaking book, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993) appropriately notes that many of the founders were not "emotionally" religious. However, Wood also points out that most ordinary Americans were, in the 18th century, very religious, and as society became more democratic, the religiosity of the populace became more prevalent in American society.

1 comment:

Mark D. said...

Very good -- Wood makes a great point that many of us who are students of the Founding tend to overlook: that it wasn't just the "Great Men" outfront who made our Republic, but the many who followed, who worked at the state level, who lived their ordinary, anonymous lives but who influenced history nonetheless. While many if not most of the "top tier" Founders were not orthodox Christians, many of the second, and I would argue most of the third tier were orthodox Christians. And the vast bulk of the population were, even if they may not have been regular church attenders.

I am eagerly awaiting Wood's new book on the early Republic. Radicalism was a great book -- but this one looks like it will be even better.