Sunday, December 21, 2008

America as a Religious Refuge: The Seventeenth Century

"Many of the British North American colonies that eventually formed the United States of America were settled in the seventeenth century by men and women, who, in the face of European persecution, refused to compromise passionately held religious convictions and fled Europe. The New England colonies, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland were conceived and established "as plantations of religion." Some settlers who arrived in these areas came for secular motives--"to catch fish" as one New Englander put it--but the great majority left Europe to worship God in the way they believed to be correct. They enthusiastically supported the efforts of their leaders to create "a city on a hill" or a "holy experiment," whose success would prove that God's plan for his churches could be successfully realized in the American wilderness. Even colonies like Virginia, which were planned as commercial ventures, were led by entrepreneurs who considered themselves "militant Protestants" and who worked diligently to promote the prosperity of the church."

(from Religion and the Founding of the American Republic

4 comments:

Nitewrit said...

Jeff,

The present day politicians and media-types seem to be doing their best to tear those pages from our history books.

My father's family arrived in Pennsylvania as Welsh Quakers in 1683.

Larry E.

thekingpin68 said...

'"Many of the British North American colonies that eventually formed the United States of America were settled in the seventeenth century by men and women, who, in the face of European persecution, refused to compromise passionately held religious convictions and fled Europe.'

Now some liberals seem to interpret Western freedoms as a license to promote secular liberalism at the expense of religious freedoms that may at points politically oppose secularism.

Thanks for the excellent work with the graphics, once again!

Jeff said...

Nitewrit,

The present day politicians and media-types seem to be doing their best to tear those pages from our history books.

Yeah, and I think their work has been completed.

My father's family arrived in Pennsylvania as Welsh Quakers in 1683.

Cool! That would be cool (though very unlikely) if you were able to get ahold of any past documentation, letters, or records of them, especially if they contained references to God, in order to get a perspective on what their religious perspective was.

My mom's uncle spent many years doing extensive research on the genealogy on my mom's side. I found out that one of my ancestors was John Greenleaf Whittier, the poet (that used to be in school textbooks, but I don't think he is any longer). I also found out that my ancestors on my mom's side came from England in the 1600s. On my dad's side, one of my ancestors was John Forsythe (not the actor) who was governor of Georgia, and which a street in Georgia is named after. My dad once said that someone told him that a British king was his ancestor, but he had no idea whether that was true or not. My two brothers have light complexions, unlike me. When I lived in Miami, people sometimes thought I was Cuban, and when I attended school in South Carolina, many people insisted that I was part or full Native American.

Thanks for the continued comments, Larry.

Jeff said...

thekingpin68,

Now some liberals seem to interpret Western freedoms as a license to promote secular liberalism at the expense of religious freedoms that may at points politically oppose secularism.

Exactly.

"[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue."

(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 401, to Zabdiel Adams on June 21, 1776.)


"[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
John Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Second President of the United States

(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, October 11, 1798.)


"The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code; it contained many statutes . . . of universal application-laws essential to the existence of men in society, and most of which have been enacted by every nation which ever professed any code of laws."
John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States

(Source: John Quincy Adams, Letters of John Quincy Adams, to His Son, on the Bible and Its Teachings (Auburn: James M. Alden, 1850), p. 61.)


"There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of these three articles of faith and that man will have no conscience, he will have no other law than that of the tiger or the shark. The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy."

(Source: John Quincy Adams, Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teachings (Auburn: James M. Alden, 1850), pp. 22-23.)


"[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."
Samuel Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

(Source: William V. Wells, The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams (Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1865), Vol. I, p. 22, quoting from a political essay by Samuel Adams published in The Public Advertiser, 1749.)


"Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments."
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

(Source: Bernard C. Steiner, The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland: The Burrows Brothers, 1907), p. 475. In a letter from Charles Carroll to James McHenry of November 4, 1800.)


Thanks for the excellent work with the graphics, once again!

You're very welcome, Russ!