Friday, June 02, 2006

John Witherspoon: Presbyterian Mid-Wife to the Founding of America

I have often discussed how the essence of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were derived from the Presbyterian theological/philosophical legacy of John Calvin.

A new essay by Roger Kimball in the New Criterion entitled, "The Forgotten Founder: John Witherspoon" helps demonstrate that it was not only Presbyterian thought but an actual Presbyterian named John Witherspoon who helped shape the emerging nation more than most of you may have been aware of before. Click on the link in the previous sentence to read the entire essay.

The essay begins with the following paragraph and from there it just gets better and better . . .
Who is the most unfairly neglected American Founding Father? You might think that none can be unfairly neglected, so many books about that distinguished coterie have been published lately. John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington—whom have I left out? It has been a literary festival of Founders these last few years, and a good thing, too. But there is one figure, I believe, who has yet to get his due, and that is John Witherspoon (1723–1794). This Scotch Presbyterian divine came to America to preside over a distressed college in Princeton, New Jersey, and wound up transmitting to the colonies critical principles of the Scottish Enlightenment and helped to preside over the birth and consolidation of American independence