Thursday, July 9, 2020

Mark David Hall has a new installment at this month's Cato Unbound. Check it out. A taste:

Mark David Hall has a new installment at this month's Cato Unbound. Check it out. A taste:
Professor Allen writes: “Dr. Hall points out that 50-75% of Americans during the founding era were Calvinists … [b]ut once again, ‘the founders’ and ‘the American people’ are not at all the same thing.” It is certainly true that not all founders were Calvinists, but many of them were, and they drew from a tradition of political reflection that encouraged them to actively resist tyrants. 
Let’s begin by considering just one Reformed founder, Connecticut’s Roger Sherman. Sherman was the only statesman to help draft and sign the Declaration and Resolves (1774), the Articles of Association (1774), the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Articles of Confederation (1777, 1778), and the Constitution (1787). He served longer in the Continental and Confederation Congresses than all but four men, and he was regularly appointed to key committees, including those charged with drafting the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. At the Constitutional Convention, Sherman often outmaneuvered Madison and, according to David Brian Robertson, the “political synergy between Madison and Sherman … may have been necessary for the Constitution’s adoption.”[i] He was also a representative and senator in the new republic where he played a major role in drafting the Bill of Rights. And unlike many of the more “Enlightened” founders favored by Professor Allen, Sherman never owned a slave, and he co-authored a law that put slavery in Connecticut on the path to extinction.[ii]
American patriots drew from a rich and deep tradition of Calvinist thought concerning when tyrants may be justly resisted. ...


Tom Van Dyke said...

Hall is completely outlassing Brooke Allen and Steven Green now in both fact and argument. Like Gregg Frazer here last month, they are at a loss to tell us what is uniquely Lockean [or secular or "Enlightenment"] about the political theology-philosophy of the American Revolution.

The Calvinists had been revolting against the crown since the 1600s, executing one king and exiling another. Locke's Two Treatises weren't even published until 1689, after all the smoke had cleared! Add in the well-known work of the Catholic Scholastics such as the Jesuits Suarez and Bellarmine, and the preponderance of evidence is falling heavily on the side of the ledger marked for "Christian thought."

Allen and Green have literally done nothing but lazily drop a few "Enlightenment" names like Locke and Montesquieu and trying to pass that off as their side of the argument.

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