Short essay on fundamental duties

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short essay on fundamental duties

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This was noticed by the other side, as suggested by the loyalist Peter Oliver, who railed against the black regiment, the dissenting Clergy, who took so active a part in the rebellion. King george himself reportedly referred to the war for Independence as a presbyterian Rebellion. From the English perspective, british Major Harry rooke was largely correct when he confiscated a presumably calvinist book from an American prisoner and remarked that it is your G-d Damned Religion of this country that ruins the country; Damn your religion. 14 The declaration of Independence, the most famous document produced by the continental Congress during the war for Independence, proclaims: we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that. As well, this text references the laws of nature and of natures God and closes by appealing to the supreme judge of the world and noting the signers reliance on the protection of divine Providence. The founders use of Christian rhetoric and arguments becomes even more evident if one looks at other statements of colonial rights and concerns such as the suffolk resolves, the declaration of Rights, and the declaration of the causes and Necessity of taking up Arms—to say. 15 Some scholars have argued that the use of distant words for God or vague and generic God-language like natures God, Creator, and Providence in the declaration and other texts is evidence that the founders were deists. 16 However, indisputably orthodox Christians regularly used such appellations.

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The Apostle paul, in Romans 13, seems to leave little room for revolution: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained by god. Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they leadership that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. Historically, christian thinkers have taken this and similar biblical passages to prohibit rebellion against civic authorities. However, in the 12th century, some Christian scholars began to allow for the possibility that inferior magistrates might overthrow evil kings. These ideas were developed and significantly expanded by the Protestant Reformers. John Calvin, the most politically conservative of these men, contended that, in some cases, inferior magistrates might resist an ungodly ruler. However, reformed leaders such as John Knox, george buchanan, and Samuel Rutherford of Scotland, Stephanus Junius Brutus and Theodore beza of France, and Christopher goodman and John Ponet of England argued that inferior magistrates must resist unjust rulers and even permitted or required citizens. It is worth noting that all of these men wrote before locke published his Two Treatises boom of government and that this tradition was profoundly influential in America. Indeed, between 55 percent and 75 percent of white citizens in this era associated themselves with Calvinist churches, and members of the tradition were significantly overrepresented among American intellectual elites. 13 The influence of the reformed political tradition in the founding era is manifested in a variety of ways, but particularly noteworthy is the almost unanimous support Calvinist clergy offered to American patriots.

As well, at least nine of the 13 colonies had established churches, and all required officeholders to be Christians—or, in some cases, Protestants. Quaker Pennsylvania, for instance, expected officeholders to be such as possess faith in Jesus Christ. 12 If one is to understand the story of the United States of America, it is important to have a proper loyalty appreciation for its Christian colonial roots. By almost any measure, colonists of European descent who settled in the new World were serious Christians whose constitutions, laws, and practices reflected the influence of Christianity. Although some authors refer to this planting as a founding, such a designation is rare among scholars. Instead, most scholars consider America to have been founded in the late 18th century around one of, or some combination of, two major events: the war for Independence and the creation of Americas constitutional order. The war for Independence On the surface, the war for American Independence appears to be an inherently un-Christian event.

short essay on fundamental duties

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Historian John fea, for instance, contends that the real appeal of Jamestown was economic opportunity and desk the very real possibility of striking it rich. 9 It is certainly the case that colonists were attracted to the new World by economic opportunity (in New England as well as in the south and yet even in the southern colonies the protection and promotion of Christianity was more important than many authors. For instance, virginias 1610 legal code begins: Whereas his Majesty, like himself a most zealous prince, has in his own realms a principal care of true religion and reverence to god and has always strictly commanded his generals and governors, with all his forces wheresoever. The first three articles of this text go on to state that the colonists have embarked on a sacred cause, to mandate regular church attendance, and to proclaim that anyone who speaks impiously against the Trinity or who blasphemes Gods name will be put. 10 Early colonial laws and constitutions such as the mayflower Compact, the fundamental Orders of Connecticut, and Massachusetts Body of Liberties are filled with such language—and in some cases, they incorporate biblical texts wholesale. Perhaps more surprisingly, tolerant, quaker Pennsylvania was more similar to puritan New England than many realize. The Charter of Liberties and Frame of government of the Province of Pennsylvania (1681) begins by making it clear that God has ordained government, and it even"s Romans 13 to this effect. Article 38 of the document lists offenses against God that may be punished by the magistrate, including: swearing, cursing, lying, profane talking, drunkenness, drinking of healths, obscene words, incest, sodomystage-plays, cards, dice, may-games, gamesters, masques, revels, bull-baiting, cock-fighting, bear-baiting, and the like, which excite the. 11 An extensive survey of early colonial constitutions and laws reveals many similar provisions.

7, the founders were also informed by the AngloAmerican politicallegal tradition and their own political experience, and like all humans, they were motivated to varying degrees by self, class, or state interests. My contention is merely that orthodox Christianity had a very significant influence on Americas founders and that this influence is often overlooked by students of the American founding. What Constitutes Americas founding? I have assumed here that America was founded in the late 18th century, but some authors have argued, in the words of Gary demar, that our nation begins not in 1776, but more than one hundred fifty years earlier. 8 Let us consider three major possibilities that might count as the countrys founding: (1) the establishment of colonial governments in the 17th century, (2) Americas break with Great Britain in the 1770s, and (3) the creation of a new constitutional order in the 1780s. Americas Colonial Origins Few doubt that Puritans were serious Christians attempting to create, in the words of Massachusetts governor John Winthrop, a shining city upon a hill (a reference to matthew 5:14). Puritans separated church and state, but they clearly thought the two institutions should work in tandem to support, protect, and promote true christianity. Other colonies, however, are often described as being significantly different from those in New England.

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short essay on fundamental duties

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Most egregious, it is profoundly unhistorical to judge the founders by specific policy outcomes that seem perfectly clear to 21st century Christians. This is not to say that biblical principles are relativistic, but their applications to specific issues in particular the times and places may vary or be unclear. To take a contemporary example, one should be very careful in saying, for instance, that someone is a good Christian politician only if she votes for (or against) tax cuts or national health care. A final possibility is that the founders were influenced by Christian ideas. Scholars have spent a great amount of time attempting to discern influence. Book after book has been written about whether the founders were most influenced by lockean liberalism, classical republicanism, the Scottish Enlightenment, etc.

I believe that this is the most reasonable way to approach the question Did America have. In doing so, it is important to note that nominal Christians might be influenced by Christian ideas, just as it is possible for an orthodox Christian to be influenced by non-Christian ideas. I believe that an excellent case can be made that Christianity had a profound influence on the founders. 6, before proceeding, i should emphasize that i am not arguing that Christianity was the only significant influence on Americas founders or that it influenced each founder in the exact same manner. Clearly there were a variety of different, but often overlapping, intellectual influences in the era.

In most cases, the historical record gives us little with which to work. And even if we can determine, say, that a particular founder was a member, regular attendee, and even officer in a church, it does not necessarily mean he was a sincere, christian. Perhaps he did these things simply because society expected it of him. Third, we might mean that the founders were orthodox, christians. In some cases—for example, samuel Adams, patrick henry, john jay, roger Sherman, and John Witherspoon—there is abundant evidence that these founders embraced and articulated orthodox Christian ideas. But the lack of records often makes it difficult to speak with confidence on this issue.


Nevertheless, in light of the many and powerful claims that the founders were deists, it should be noted that there is virtually no evidence that more than a handful of civic leaders in the founding era—notably benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, Thomas Jefferson, john Adams, and. Moreover, a good argument can be made that even these founders were influenced by Christianity in significant ways—and it certainly does not follow that they desired the strict separation of church and state. 4, a fourth possibility is that the founders acted as Christians in their private and/or public lives. Some historians have argued that the founding cannot be called Christian because some founders did not join churches, take communion, or remain faithful to their spouses. Moreover, in their public capacity, they did not act in a christian manner because they did things such as fight an unjust war against England and did not immediately abolish slavery. In some cases, these critiques do not take into account historical context, such as the difficulty of joining Calvinist churches in 18th century America. In others, they neglect the traditional Christian teaching that even saints sin. If the standard of being a christian is moral perfection, no one has ever been a christian.

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Let biography us begin by considering what, exactly, would constitute. One possibility is simply that the founders identified themselves as Christians. In 1776, every european American, with the exception of about 2,500 Jews, identified himself or herself as a christian. Moreover, approximately 98 percent of the colonists were Protestants, with the remaining.9 percent being Roman Catholics. 3, but this reality is not particularly interesting. These men and women might have been bad Christians, they may have been Christians significantly influenced by non-Christian ideas, or they may even have been Christians self-consciously attempting to create a secular political order. Second, we might mean that the founders were all sincere, christians. Yet sincerity is very difficult for the scholars, or anyone else, to judge.

short essay on fundamental duties

Federer, david Barton, and Gary demar. They contend that not only did America have a christian founding, but virtually all of the founders were devout, orthodox Christians who consciously drew from their religious convictions to answer most political questions. To support their case, these writers are fond of finding religious"tions from the founders. The essay rule seems to be that if a founder utters anything religious, at any time in his life, he counts as an orthodox or even evangelical Christian founder. Using this methodology, tim lahaye concludes, for instance, that John Adams was deeply committed to jesus Christ and the use of Biblical principles in governing the nation, and george washington, if he was alive today, would freely associate with the bible-believing branch of evangelical Christianity. This approach leads to similarly bad history. What Exactly would a, christian, founding look like? In order to answer the question Did America have a christian founding? Properly, we must first understand.

instance, historian Frank lambert writes that the significance of the Enlightenment and deism for the birth of the American republic, and especially the relationship between church and state within it, can hardly be overstated. Similarly, university of Chicago law professor geoffrey stone avers that deistic beliefs played a central role in the framing of the American republic and that the founding generation viewed religion, and particularly religions relation to government, through an Enlightenment lens that was deeply skeptical. Virtually identical claims are made by Edwin gaustad, Steven Waldman, richard Hughes, Steven keillor, david Holmes, Brooke allen, and many others. 1, in addition to asserting that the founders were deists, these authors regularly contend that they abandoned their ancestors intolerant approach to churchstate relations and embraced religious liberty. They often concede that some founders thought civic authorities should support religion but argue that this is irrelevant as Jeffersons and Madisons conviction that there should be a high wall of separation between church and state was written into the constitution and reinforced by the. As we shall see, there are significant problems with this story. The second answer to this question is offered by popular Christian writers such as Peter Marshall, david Manuel, john Eidsmoe, tim lahaye, william.

The role of religion in the American republic has been a source of controversy since the nations inception. Debates are particularly fierce when they concern religious liberty and the proper relationship between church and state. Arguments on these questions are often framed in the light of the founders intentions, but unfortunately, their views are often distorted. Did America have a christian founding? Two popular answers to this query—Of course not! And Absolutely!—both distort the founders views. There is in fact a great deal of evidence that Americas founders were influenced by Christian ideas, and there are many ways in which the founders views might really inform contemporary political and legal controversies. Two common but Mistaken Answers, according to those who answer Of course not! Americas founders were guided by secular ideas and self, class, or state interests.

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Abstract: Did America have a christian founding? This disputed question, far from being only of historical interest, has important implications for how we conceive of the role of religion in the American republic. Mark david Hall begins short by considering two popular answers to the query—Of course not! And Absolutely!—both of which distort the founders views. After showing that Christian ideas were one of the important intellectual influences on the founders, he discusses three major areas of agreement with respect to religious liberty and churchstate relations at the time of the founding: Religious liberty is a right and must be protected;. In short, while America did not have a christian founding in the sense of creating a theocracy, its founding was deeply shaped by Christian moral truths. More important, it created a regime that was hospitable to Christians, but also to practitioners of other religions.


short essay on fundamental duties
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  3. Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The term ethics derives from Ancient Greek θικός (ethikos from θος meaning habit, custom. Abstract: Did America have a christian founding? This disputed question, far from being only of historical interest, has important implications for how we conceive of the role of religion in the American republic).

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