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tv   The Bible the American Constitutional Republic  CSPAN  August 5, 2021 6:57pm-7:46pm EDT

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>> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday, american history tv documents america's story. and on sundays, book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books in authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and more, including comcast. >> comcast, along with these television companies, support c-span2 as a public service. next on american history tv. american university professor, daniel dreisbach looks at the bible's contributions to the u.s. constitutional and judicial systems. this talk was part of a symposium hosted by the museum of the bible in washington, d.c.
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hello, everyone. our second session today is the bible and the founding of the american constitutional republic with daniel dreisbach. during the american founding era, no book was more accessible or authoritative than the bible. it featured prominently in 18th century political culture, shaping the founders' political thought and rhetoric. this presentation will examine the founding generation's appeal to scripture to answer fundamental political questions and to inform an emerging constitutional tradition. daniel dreisbach is a professor at american university, here in washington, d.c., where he earned american university's highest-faculty award scholar teacher of the year. his research interests include constitutional law and the intersection of politics law and religion in american-public life. his most recent book is "reading the bible with the founding
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fathers." i have that one, myself, and it's full of sticky tabs. so i encourage you to get that in enjoy it. please, join me in welcoming dr. dreisbach. well, thank you, very much. it is a real pleasure and a joy to be here in this magnificent facility, in this tremendous resource that we have here, now, in the nation's capital. let me, also, say that it's a real joy for me to share the platform with professors byrd and kidd. two scholars from whom i have learned a great deal, over the years. and i thank kay and the team for organizing today's event. this morning, i'm going to be drawing on my book "reading the bible with the founding fathers." and i want to turn our attention to the bible's contributions to the founding of the american constitutional republic.
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and i'll be talking about the emergence of a constitutional tradition in the last third or so of the 18th century. we are talking here about the american founding. and by that term, i am referring to that time in the life of the nation when , when americans, the columnist began to agitate for the rights as englishman. and believing they had failed to secure those rights, they had then embarked on the pursuit of independence and having secured independence, they then have this tremendous task of building a new nation, building the institutions of government in the like of the wake of devastating war and having won this independence. so that's where i'm referring to. the last 30 or so of the 18th century. the founding fathers read the bible, there are men can quotations from and illusions to both familiar and obscure
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biblical texts, confirmed that they knew the bible from cover to cover. they buckle language and themes literally seasoned their rhetoric. the phrases and the cadences of the king james bible and it is in fact the king james bible for the most part that these americans are reading. and if you know the king james, you know it has it's very distinct language, it has these very distinct riddance and you hear these cadences and rhythm's when you listen to the discourse of the founding era. and it's going to be this biblical language, from this particular english bible that's going to inform their written and their spoken words. the ideas of scripture are going to shape their habits of mind and inform their political pursuits. now the bible was the most accessible and authoritative
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text foremost 18th century americans. and effective communicators, politicians and polemicists are going to adeptly used the bible to reach their audiences. and significantly, both christian as well as skeptical founders, including some who doubted the bibles divine origins are going to appeal to scripture in their political rhetoric, their political discourse. and a now famous study published in the american political science review on the sources cited in the political literature of the american founding, political scientist donna let reported that the bible sided more frequently then any european writer or even any european school of thought. the bible he found accounted for a proximate lee one third
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of the citations in the literature he surveyed. the book of due to rana me alone was the most frequently cited work followed by baron to volunteer skews the spirit of the laws. in fact, dude romney with reference nearly twice as often as john locks writings and the apostle paul was mentioned as frequently as monte skew or the great english tourist, william blackstone. by the way, i think it's an interesting question, why is due to rana me so appealing to this generation of americans? i think there are several responses, first due to rana me is a digest. a condenses that books, the laws of militias which had exerted significant influence on american law, going all the way back to the first pure commonwealth's in the 17th century and continuing up to their own time. this book also records god's dealings with a chosen nation. the specially and established and political and legal institutions necessary to govern a nation. yes, there are text on
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government and the responsibilities of citizenship that refined in the new testament, but what's particularly appealing, i think, in the accounts of gujarat to me is americans in the wake of independents, and the aftermath of this war, they have to build a new government. and they see in the history of israel, having departed from egypt, the same exercise taking place, the building of a new nation with its various political institutions. and this is a particular attraction to americans in the founding era, who see themselves engaged in a similar project. now, to be sure, they're drawn to many other texts. yes, do their on me is particularly appealing, but they're also going to look to text like romans 13, which speaks of the obligations to be in submission to those of authority over you. they're going to be
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particularly drawn to the exodus narrative. this is a story about liberty and liberation that they think speaks very much to their own circumstances. they're also drawn perhaps in appropriately, we can debate this to some of the new testament text that speak of liberty. escalations five one, stand faster for and liberty wherein christ had made us free. a wildly popular text in the political leader of the american founding. again, this is a text that i would view a speaking to what i'm michael christian liberty, but they're appropriating perhaps misappropriating it for a political purpose. they are also drawn to the great covenant text that we find in the old testament. levesque is 26, the -- the tell the story of a nation forming a covenant with god. so, there are drawn to a variety of biblical texts. now, i think we should perhaps pause to ask this question, are
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the many references to christianity's secret texts that we find in this political discourse, are these merely rhetorical ornaments? are they without substantive significance? should students of the founding be attentive to the bible's influence on the political and legal developments of this period? in other words, did the founders use the bible in ways that mattered? one can acknowledge that the founding generation red, referenced the bible and simultaneously doubt that the bible exerted consequential influence on their political and legal projects. simply counting and documenting the founders many references to the bible, i think tells us a little except the bible was a familiar usual literary resource for this generation of americans. in the book, i try to move beyond the simple observation that the founders frequently
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cited the bible. i think that almost goes without saying. i want to move on and examine how the founders used the bible and how it may have influenced their founding project. which biblical text appealed to them and why did they think these texts spoke to them in their own time and situation? a study of the founding generations uses of the sacred text must be attentive must, be attentive to the purposes at which the bible was invoked and again, not nearly to the fact that they read and frequently referenced it. the founders uses of the bible they use the bible for a variety of reasons. for a diverse reasons. ranging from the primarily literary and political to the profoundly the logical. they use the bible as we sometimes --
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they use the bible as we sometimes use the bible today, first to enrich a common language and cultural vocabulary through distinctively biblical illusions, phrases, figures of speech, proverbs, aphorisms and an likes. and let me just give you a few simple examples. in counseling a patient rather than temperate approach to the crisis confronting colonies, john adams rotate teams warren in april of 1717 six and i quote, the management of so complicated and mighty emission as the united colonies, requires that need missive moses, the passengers of joe and the wisdom of solomon added to the valor of daniel, and quote. you have to know a little bit about your bible to appreciate
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what's being communicated. again, i think a fairly simple illustration of what i'm saying here but let me give you i think it mirrors slightly more substantive example. and here i turn to a very familiar biblical metaphor, we're all familiar with abraham lincoln's 1858 implication of the biblical metaphor of a house divided. it's drawn here on the gospels, matthew chapter 12, mark chapter three. and this is a powerful metaphor in the sense in which lincoln uses it. it captures the nations precarious political predicament on the threshold of a bitter civil war, more powerfully than worry this assertation. now of course, lincoln is that is prime a couple generations or more after the period that i am speaking about, but i think it's interesting to note that it is a metaphor that is often used in the discourse of american founding and used by variety. and very political context. take for example, george washington observed in the midst of this struggle with great britain, if the house is
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divided, the fabric must fall, he says. we see a similar illusion to this particular metaphor in the federalist papers with some frequency elsewhere in the political settings of the time. secondly, the bible was used to enhance the power in weight of rhetoric, through its identification with a venerated authoritative sacred text, so the mere identification of biblical language with political discourse today has a kind of seriousness, a gravitas to what the speaker is saying. now i am particularly fascinated on how this was taken one step forward, although less obvious, but perhaps a significant is the use of bible like language in political rhetoric. that is to say, the use of words, phrases, imagery or cadences that resemble imitate or evoke the language of a
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familiar bible translation. and again, in the american experience, the translation most frequently in mutated would've been the curve bible. i'm a resemblance to the annapolis language and intonations of this particular translation infuses rhetoric with solemnity and safety and authority. consider, for example a few lines from perhaps the most famous example of revolutionary larry candice is patrick canneries, give me liberty or give me death speech. and as that speech has been passed down to us in somewhat contested, let me just read to you a few lines. the famous lines that you will recall, he says why stand we hear idle. what is it that gentlemen which, wet where they nervous as life so dear or piece so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery.
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forbid it, oh my god. i know not wet course others may take, but that's for me, give me liberty or give me death. another quite a few references and illusions there to biblical language, king james language. why stand here idle or is life so dear, that comes from acts chapter 20. and then there's that really powerful set up where he says, but as for me, this echoes the language of genesis and that covenant between john abraham, and perhaps more famously it takes us to the language of joshua in that famous speech, joshua is speaking on behalf of the lord and as for me or my house, we will serve the lord, so he's bringing two very powerful effect, at this biblical language. now, he's not quoting the bible, again that's what i find fascinating, but he's using biblical language.
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to add a gravitas, if you will to the speech that he is giving. third, the bible was used then as it is sometimes used today to identify and define standards for ordering and charging public life, and i'm going to give you a number of examples of this in just a second. fourth, the bible was used to martial biblical authority and support a specific political agenda, and policy objectives. and, it was also used to gain insights into the character and designs of god. especially as they pertain to god's providence show oversight of the material world. and more specifically, his dealings with many nations. i think we heard in the last session about franklin's famous speech and the constitution convention and i think we see, hints of that particular use of the bible. how does god deal with nations, what does he expect of nations?
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but i think it's very important to recognize these very distinct uses of the bible. it's important and so far as it is misleading to read spiritual meaning into literary and political use of the bible, just as it is misleading to do exactly the opposite. so let's keep these various ways, in which the bible is used very clearly said in our minds. regrettably, there is a tendency among scholars today to discount or even dismissed the influence of the bible, of the founding and on the founders. many scholars in the academy describe the founding era a, time sandwiched between two great religious revivals as an age of enlightenment and rational-ism in which the founding generation in the words of one modern scholar rejected or de emphasize the bible and political rhetoric, and quote. i think this is a fairly common
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sentiment that one here is from scholars today. i suspect for example that we could walk a few blocks from where we are, down to the library of congress. we redefine shuffle shelf after books of books written on the profound influence on -- the american founding. but i think we would probably be hard-pressed to find more than just a handful of books that focus on the bible's influence on the american vow liu. i think that reflects sort of the landscape of modern scholarship. the founding generation in the last third or so of the 18 century drew on and synthesized diverse intellectual traditions and forming their political thought. among these diverse traditions were british constitutionalism and i've depicted here, magma cardamom of the great english tourist, sir william blackstone.
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they also drew on enlightenment ideas, and a variety of forms and expressions and just as a representative examples here. of long and mom to skew. of long and mom to skew. they also drew republic or traditions, both asian and modern. and i have representing, this many other figures that we can inch illustrate this with but i have here cicero and machiavellian, both from the ancients as well as for more modern thinkers. now i advance in my book is this, both the break and christian biblical traditions must be studied alongside these other perspectives if we want to truly understand the ideas that shape, that inspired the founding of the american constitutional republic and our great experiment and republican self government and liberty under war. i'm speaking here of course to
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the biblical traditions as we find in hebrew scriptures. i am also speaking more broadly about that christian tradition and here i have illustrated this with a depiction of the apostle paul, but also in the american experience they're drawing on protestant articulations of political ideas and in influential, we have a john calvin. again, we can illustrate each of these points with other figures but again, we have to keep in mind that there is a variety of perspectives that americans are reading and studying and drawing on and my point here is the bible must be included in this range of perspectives that they are drawing on. interestingly, george washington identify the bible among the significant contributions to the american experience. he once remarked that the foundation of the american empire was laid out a near perfect moment in human history. not in some gloomy age of
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ignorance and superstition, it was an epic, he said when above all, the pure and the non light of revelation has had a nearly rating influence on mankind and increase the blessings of society. this is an interesting statement, i think. it's made in a letter we sometimes call the circular letter to the states, rain in anticipation of his resignation as commander-in-chief as the army. and again, his main point here in this paragraph is to say, the founding of this new nation comes out a most propitious time. and he goes through a laundry list of the evidence that leads him to say that. they're learning in arts and sciences are greater than it's ever been before. commerce ace richer and more fulfilling than ever before and then at the end of this list, he says, and above all, above all, the pure and benign light of revelation has had a merely radiating influence on mankind and increase the blessings of society. so, how did the bible inform
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the founders political and legal pursuits. again, the founder strong diverse perspectives and they come from diverse theological backgrounds and some doubted christiana tees claims and even doubted the bibles divine origins. i suggest that many look to the scriptures for insights into human nature, civic virtue, social order, political authority and other ideas that are going to be absolutely essential in creating a new policy, creating a new political order. perhaps, most important there was broad agreement that the bible was a central for nurturing the civic virtues that gives citizens the
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capacity for self government. and various conventions, representative assemblies of the age as well as intense flights and political sermons and private papers, finding figures appeal to the bible for principals presidents, models, normative standards to define their community and toward or their political experiments. so let me suggest some very specific ways, several ways but very specific ways in which the founders drawn scripture and framing an american constitutional tradition. and i want to suggest three different ways in which this influence takes place. first, general theological or doctoral propositions regarding human nature, civil authority, politics in the lake and foreign conceptions of institutions of law and civil government. again, i think we can illustrate each of these in multiple ways but i'm just going to offer a couple of illustrations of what i'm speaking of here. here, consider for example the doctrine of original sin and humankind's radical depravity. the fall that we read about in
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genesis chapter three. i'm going to suggest to you that this prompted the founding generation to design a constitutional system that would prevent the concentration of power and it would checked the abuse of power invested in fall in human actors. it seems to me that one cannot understand the most basic fundamental features of american constitutional design and hear him referencing limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, representative government, you can't understand these features of constitutional architecture without starting from this proposition that they're looking at human nature as a fallen -- in a fallen state. and if you vest power in these human actors,, you must check the exercise of that power. this constitutional design, in other words, reflects a biblical anthropology, a biblical understanding of who
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we are as humans. another example. toys of office required in many state constitution in this and statues in the founding era were often explicitly premised on a belief in a future state of rewards and punishments they oftentimes use that precise phrase, a future state of rewards and punishments an acknowledgment of a long life hereafter where you must stand and answer to how we conduct ourselves and here and now. second, the founding generation saw in the bible, political and legal models that they sought to incorporate into their political and legal systems. again, i want to just give you a few examples, don't want to suggest that this list is exhaustive, just a couple of examples. first, we might reflect on republican or representative government. republican or representative
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government. americans believed that the hebrew commonwealth,, described, the old testament provided a model for republican government. and i'm going to come back to this point a little bit later so i mentioned here and we'll elaborate. i second example would be this very idea of due process of law. due process of law by which remain, procedural fairness in the equality of all persons before the law. this is a principle that's explicitly articulated and both the fifth and the 14th amendments to the united states constitution. and the founding generation were often quick to point out that you could find principles of due process, sprinkled throughout scripture, especially in the loss of moses. they were particularly drawn to the first nine versus an exodus at 23 and interesting text that
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has been described throughout history as the ten commandments of justice or the deck log of due process. they saw here principles of due process that were worthy of emulation and their own system. let me give you one more example. and that is a separation of powers. separation of powers. there were americans who saw in scripture, models for the separation of powers. the form of government that's described into the ramy, chapter 16, 17 and 18 establishes the distinct and separated branches of profit priests and king. each office will or branch was assigned specific functions spheres of influence, each of these branches android full autonomy and independence from the others. and each was subject to the rule of law. no branch in this particular model that we read about into
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dude-o'rama could claim priority over the others and antiquity, ranked power or divine thinker. and we're going to find that there are americans who are pointing to this precise portion of scripture to say, look, here is a model. model of separation of powers. now, i think this is a good point to pause and make a point that i would want to make frequently throughout this top and that is to say, the oftentimes looked at the scripture when looking at models, and not necessarily for the specific nuts and bolts of what this might look like an application, but when they saw or what they believed to see which was a model of republicanism or a model of due process or a model of separation of powers, it reassured them that these were ideas that in troy divine favor. and again, they may look elsewhere, separation of powers, they are very drawn and attracted of course to the variety of the likes of monte skew, who writes on this very
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topic. for the more specific nuts and bolts, but its presence is an idea and scripture. comforts the pious among this company of americans that cobb approves of this as a political principle. third, the bible may have influence on specific provisions laid written into the united states constitution. let me give you, again, several examples. and i'm going to start with an example of that we might agree is arguably and significant, right? but let's start with wet we read about in article one section seven, clause two. and accepts sundays from the ten days within which a president much veto a bill. i take this to be an implicit recognition of the lords they,
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or this idea of sabotage commemorating the creators signification of the seven day for rest, we read about in genesis chapter two. the fourth commandment that seventh be kept free from secular defilement. and in the christian tradition, the resurrection of jesus from the dead. here's another example, an article three section three, clause one, there's a requirement that convictions for trees and be supported by the testimony of two witnesses. this is a requirement that conforms to familiar biblical mandate for conviction and punishment. we will find multiple biblical passages, both the old and new testament. it speaks of the importance of having more than one witness for certain kinds of prosecutions. i've offered here on the screen
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the language we find in deuteronomy chapter seven versus six. at the mouth of two witnesses or three witnesses shall he who is worthy of death be put to, death but at the mouth of one witness, he shall not be put to death and we will find multiple other biblical text that speak to this same principle. let me offer you one last example and there are others, but one last example to illustrate the possibility that specific biblical texts inform specific constitutional provisions. i want to turn to the fifth amendment. the fifth amendment to the constitution is where we find a prohibition on double jeopardy. that's to say trying someone twice for the same offense. this is language that was crafted by the first federal congress meeting in new york in the summer of 1789. where did this idea come from? where did this idea come from? historians tell us that in a commentary written in three 91 by st. durham, he suggests that this is a principle to be found
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in the book of the profit, chapter, one verse nine, where we read affliction shall not rise up the second time. we can debate whether the saint here is on good ground in his interpretation of the text, but the point here in this setting is this is an idea that works its way into canon law, the law of the church. from cannon law, it eventually becomes part of the customary law and later common law of england. from england, it crosses the atlantic with the first english colonists. it's woven into early legal articulations in the colonies, and when the colonists, now independent, begin to write the first constitutions in 1776, it will become a port of constitutions and declarations of rights at this moment.
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then it eventually works its way into the fifth amendment to the united states constitution. i like this example, because this is an instance where the research has been fairly clear on this lineage in terms of the transmission of an idea from a millennium and a half ago to the president. in fact, the supreme court of the united states has from time to time drawn attention to this very lineage but, going back to saint jerome's interpretation. more broadly and generally speaking, many founders thought the bible was essential to their constitutional experiment in republican south government, republican self government. i speak here of small are republicanism, of a political arrangement, a political system, not a political party. so what's did republicanism mean to americans in the founding era? it meant at least this. popular government, committed
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to the rule of law, in which government authorities derived from the consent of the government and exercise the representatives freely and fairly chosen by the people. let me draw your attention to what's strikes me as a rather extraordinary turn of phrase. the turn of phrase i encountered a lot working on this book, john adams described the bible as the most republican book in the world, the most republican book in the world. i've picked up my bible thousands of times in the course of my life. but i've got to be honest with you, i never once picked it up and said now for some good republican reading. it's not exactly what i'm thinking when i pick up the bible.
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but he's not alone. he is not alone among his contemporaries in making this claim. i have some language here from john dickinson, a founder we should all be more familiar with, somewhat forgotten in our own time, but acclaimed in his own time as the pendant of the revolution. on more than one occasion, he makes almost precisely this same statement. here i have him saying the bible is the most republican book that ever was written. again, even these two are not alone among their contemporaries and making this statement. the bible is many things to the christian, gods word, the council of god, a guiding lamp, a divine handbook for correction, instruction, righteousness. but is it republican? is it republican? and in what's sense is the bible republican? what are they talking about here?
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as i've already mentioned, there were americans in the founding era who believed the hebrew -- from the exit is to the coronation of sault, they see in the hebrew commonwealth a form of government that they perceive to be republican in nature. it's a republican government well designed to promote political prosperity. political servants of the founding era include numerous appeals to the hebrew republic as a model for their own political experiments. let me give you an example. in an influential 1775 massachusetts election sermon, samuel langston, who at the time he gave the speech was the president of harvard college. he later served as a delicate to delaware. he says this. the jewish government, according to the original
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constitution, which was divinely established, was a perfect republic, a perfect republic. the civil policy of israel is a doubtless excellent model, at least some principles may be copied to more modern establishments. you will find many similar expressions from this period in american history where they are first describing that form of government they read as a republican and then suggesting, hey, there's things we can learn about republicanism from this model as we embark in our own nation building. let me state but i think is obvious. most of what the founders knew about the hebrew commonwealth, they learned from the bible. they were well aware that ideas like republicanism found expression in traditions apart from the hebrew experience, and indeed, they studied the
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traditions ancient and modern. they studied the roman republic. they studied more modern theorists who wrote about republicanism. but the republic that was described in the hebrew scriptures reassured them. it reassured them that republicanism was a political system that enjoyed divine favor. and this was reason enough for them to think more deeply about what role republicanism should play in their own form of government. but for john adams, more important than the model of hebrew republicanism, because it was an indispensable handbook for good republican citizenship, it is a hand double for -- the bible more than any other versus taught the civic virtues required of citizens in order to govern themselves in a republic. a historian at the library of
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congress has described central connections among, religion, virtue and republican self government that refined in the political thought of the founding, describing it as the founding generations syllogism, the founding generations syllogism. hudson is suggesting this was a common view in the american founding. virtue and morality are necessary for free republican government. religious is necessary for virtue. therefore, religion is necessary for republican government. the discourse of the era is replete with expressions of religions vital contributions to the republican regime. the idea is espoused by americans from diverse religious traditions. david ramsey, a delegate to the continental congress and the first major historian of the american revolution. in his book on the american
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revolution he says this. remember that there can be no political happiness without liberty, that there can be no liberty without morality, and no morality without religion. listen to the words of benjamin rush, a venerated signer of the declaration of independence. he said in 1780, 60 on the foundation for useful education any republicans to be late and religion, without religion, there can be no virtue and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. in other words, a self governing people, a self governing people had to be virtuous. they had to be virtuous and controlled from within by an internal moral compass. why? the great american experiment is throwing off the external control event rulers wig and rod. the authoritarian can use the
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whip to compel people to behave in the order in which you want them. but clearly, the whip in fraud are unacceptable for free self governing people. what will replace that whip? it is the internal moral compass, nurtured by the civic virtues that are instilled in the language and the lessons of scripture. so why did john adams say the bible was the most republican book in the world? i think we know. he tells us. he thinks it's the most republican book in the world because he believed that without national morality, a republican government cannot be maintained. and because he believed that the bible contains the most perfect morality and most refined policy that was ever conceived upon earth. what is he telling us?
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it's republican because this is a republican handbook for citizenship. it teaches citizens in the republic how to behave in an orderly, decent fashion, thereby giving citizens the capacity for self government and for a republican regime to succeed. let me conclude with this question. doesn't it matter? it doesn't matter whether we acknowledge the bibles contributions to the founding? and does it matter whether the bible is studied alongside other intellectual influences on the founding fathers? we acknowledged that the founding generation is drawing on diverse intellectual, political traditions. but is it important for us to include the bible in our study of those diverse influences that this generation of americans is studying? yes, i think it does matter.
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i think it matters if one wants to understand the broad range of ideas that shaped the founders political thoughts, their actions, and they are deeds. and awareness of the bibles contributions to the founding provides insights into the identity of the american people and their experiment in republican self government. indeed, the widespread biblical illiteracy of our own age inevitably distorts the conception americans have of themselves as a people, their history, and their bold political experiment. the late political theorist william wilson carry mick williams once lamented, he said, the publics increasing on familiarity with the bible. it makes it harder and harder for americans to understand their origins and their mores, or to put words to their experiences. lacking knowledge of the bible,
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americans are likely to be literally inarticulate, unable to relate themselves to american life and culture as a the 19th century historian john thornton described the bible as the great political textbook of the patriots. not an uncommon sentiment in the history of the 19th century. here is an interesting statement coming from a more modern source. some years ago, in a cover story on the bible in america, newsweek magazine reported the bible has exerted an unrivaled influence on american culture, politics, and social life. now, historians are discovering that the bible, perhaps even more than the constitution, is our founding document. that's a stunning statement. we could have a very energetic
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debate about whether this provocative statement can be defended or not. clearly, there is an acknowledgment of the profound role the bible played in the larger culture, political culture, legal culture of the american founding era. from the puritan fathers to the founding fathers, americans look to the guiding principles of political, order civil authority, civic virtue, responsible citizenship, and other concepts. that's essential to the formation of a well ordered polity. and one of the most important, but least studied of the sources of influence on our political culture and our constitutional tradition is the bible. the constitution contains many features and cotton and design, the mueller to a bible reading people. we cannot understand adequately the constitutional tradition,
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or the historic events that produced our great political experiment and political self government without referencing the bible. let me urge you to read the constitution, study the american founding principles, and to better understand the constitution, and the founding project. read your bible, thank you. [applause] as part of a
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symposium hostility by the museum of the bible in washington d.c.. our third session of today is the bible in the american


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