Monday, October 1, 2018

Fea: The Author’s Corner with Gregg Frazer

It looks like our friend Dr. Gregg Frazer has a new book out entitled God against the Revolution: The Loyalist Clergy’s Case against the American Revolution (University Press of Kansas, 2018). John Fea has the details here. A taste:
JF: What led you to write God Against the Revolution?  
GF: My primary research interest is religion and the American Founding. I became re-acquainted with the sermons of Loyalist minister Jonathan Boucher while doing research on American Revolution-era sermons for my first book, The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders. I have always been impressed with Boucher’s biblical argument and with his rational challenges to John Locke’s theories. Having analyzed the basic arguments and assumptions of the Patriot preachers in my first book, I became intrigued with the idea of examining the arguments of the Loyalist clergymen and, as they were the primary spokesmen of Loyalism, the political thought of the Loyalists in general. Irrespective of the title, the book covers all of the Loyalist arguments.
I can't wait to read it and hopefully we will have much more discussion about this book.

10 comments:

JMS said...

Thanks Jon for bringing this new book to a wider audience. I saw Professor fea's post on his website.

I am a great admirer of Gregg Frazer’s scholarship and books. I heartily endorse his premise that you cannot understand the American Revolution without giving the Loyalists their due.

But I have to question his statement that “up to two-thirds of eighteenth-century Americans did not support the Revolution.”

Of course, not “supporting” the Revolution does not mean active opposition to it. But since verifiable and sufficient hard data will likely never be found to resolve this question definitively, I think that “common sense” begs the question of how could the pro-Revolution Whigs have won (or the British lost)if “two-thirds of eighteenth-century Americans did not support the Revolution”?

Jonathan Rowe said...

I'm going to have to read the book; but yes, that one assertion struck me as questionable. There are some reasons I will get into later as to what I think might be a misunderstanding in that assertion. (Or I could be wrong in what I have in mind.)

Our Founding Truth said...

It will be interesting to see the quotes Frazer uses from the Anglican preachers. The divine right of kings is biblical.

Tom Van Dyke said...

He [King George III] has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.--Declaration of Independence


Problem solved.

The English came to the same conclusion in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Where it was commonly admitted by the Puritans they shouldn't have executed Charles II in 1649, by fleeing to France, James II "abdicated."

The colonies were given their charters by the crown before Parliament became supreme in the Glorious Revolution; the colonies always maintained Parliament had no rightful authority over them [see Hamilton in The Farmer Refuted.

Indeed, the Declaration reaffirms that position, so once the crown's authority is dispensed with, the colonies are free.

___________________

BTW, recent scholarship addresses [and dismisses] John Adams' claim that 1/3 of the colonies supported the Revolution, 1/3 opposed and the other 1/3 was undecided. If Fraser rests his thesis on Adams' claim, that is highly questionable--indeed Adams seems to have been talking about American support for the French Revolution!!


https://allthingsliberty.com/2013/02/john-adamss-rule-of-thirds/

Tom Van Dyke said...

ibid:

Historian Thomas Fleming offers that there may have been 75,000 to 100,000 Loyalists in America during the Revolution and that 60,000 to 80,000 fled after the war. In a thorough 1968 study, historian Paul H. Smith estimated that Loyalists comprised about 16% of America’s total population and a precise 19.8% of free citizens. And historian Robert Calhoon wrote that probably 15 to 20% of adult white males remained loyal to Britain, and that 40 to 45% of the free population, “at most no more than a bare majority” actively supported the Patriots.

Our Founding Truth said...

"Where it was commonly admitted by the Puritans they shouldn't have executed Charles II in 1649,"

Will Frazer say because of the divine right of kings or some other reason? The title of his book implies the former. However, this is an interesting dynamic because the loyalist preachers don't appear to be Calvinists and neither was Wesley.

Tom Van Dyke said...

"Where it was commonly admitted by the Puritans they shouldn't have executed Charles II in 1649,"

Will Frazer say because of the divine right of kings or some other reason? The title of his book implies the former. However, this is an interesting dynamic because the loyalist preachers don't appear to be Calvinists and neither was Wesley.


Well, John Joachim Zubly was and technically so were the Congregationalists of New England as well as the Baptists.

But the theology is the same regardless. Legitimate authority must be obeyed. The theological permissibility rests on the question of legitimacy.

The Divine Right of Kings makes some extravagant claims, such as the king's position is God-given and its legitimacy rests solely on that. This was under fire by not only the "Calvinist Resistance Theory" of Ponet and others but Catholics such as Bellarmine and Suarez as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_right_of_kings#Opposition

Our Founding Truth said...

The bible says all authority is legitimate because God ordains all of it. That's why I'm interested in what Frazer says in his book. Maybe there is a caveat in Frazer's thinking about legitimate authority. At any rate, I concur with Fortenberry about Frazer's "theistic rationalist" thesis.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Again, you and Fraser are doing theology, not history, and fundamentalist theology at that. It doesn't matter what you think the Bible says, only what the Founders did.

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