In this Book
- John Witherspoon's American Revolution: Enlightenment and Religion from the Creation of Britain to the Founding of the United States
- Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
- Series: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia
- View |
- View Citation
John Witherspoon's American Revolution examines the connection between patriot discourse and long-standing debates--already central to the 1707 Act of Union--about the relationship among piety, moral philosophy, and political unionism. In Witherspoon's mind, Americans became different from other British subjects because more of them had been awakened to the sin they shared with all people. Paradoxically, acute consciousness of their moral depravity legitimized their move to independence by making it a concerted moral action urged by the Holy Spirit. Mailer's exploration of Witherspoon's thought and influence suggests that, for the founders in his circle, civic virtue rested on personal religious awakening.