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    john witherspoon founding father

    XXXI, No. John Witherspoon Quotes (Author of The dominion of providence over the passions of men. Alluding pointedly to Shaftesbury’s Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (1711)—a specimen example of the sort of aestheticizing moral philosophy that Witherspoon rejected—Ecclesiastical Characteristics baldly satirized the capture of religious understanding by the forces of polite sentiment. He was, as one modern scholar puts it, “Quite possibly the most influential religious and educational leader in Revolutionary America.” In the last quarter of the eighteenth century, his imprint was everywhere, from small things to large. Madison is often called “the father of the Constitution.” His contributions to The Federalist, especially his analysis of the danger of and remedy for “faction,” is a masterpiece of political philosophy. He graduated after two years but stayed in Princeton for another six months to study elementary Hebrew and theology with Witherspoon. Ira Berlin, Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003), 53-81. Witherspoon made clear his disapproval of the slave trade, calling it “unlawful to make inroads upon others, unprovoked, and take away their liberty by no better right than superior power.”[21] Yet at the time he made this statement, Witherspoon himself owned property in slaves. Both Stiles and Hopkins were Presbyterian clergymen who operated out of Rhode Island. In fact, the Presbyterian Church settled this matter in 1741, decreeing that “baptism simply freed slaves from the bondage of sin and Satan,” but did not free them from their physical bondage. Witherspoon was particularly important as a political activist, an advocate for and architect of American independence. Whether that is a sign of our maturity and sophistication or only, as Witherspoon might put it, our pride and natural depravity is a question we might do well ponder. In July 1776, when the question of succession was hotly debated and one delegate argued that the country was not yet “ripe” for independence, Witherspoon shot back: “In my judgement the country is not only ripe for the measure, but in danger of becoming rotten for the want of it.”. In the Articles of Confederation, leaders of the new country codified slavery as a national institution and delineated the nature of human property. John Witherspoon’s ideology of slavery—as seen in his actions as a Revolutionary-era statesman and professor of moral philosophy—both reflected and shaped New Jersey’s gradualism. John Witherspoon was a Pastor, President of Princeton and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Princeton historian Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker titled his chapter on Witherspoon “Cradle of Liberty.”[27] But in his life and career, Witherspoon also contributed to the United States becoming a cradle of slavery from its very founding. He was 77. “In fine,” Witherspoon writes in a section called the “Athenian Creed,” “I believe in the divinity of Lord S[haftesbury], the saintship of Marcus A[urelius], the perspicacity and sublimity of A[ristotle], and the perpetual duration of Mr. H[utcheson]’s works, notwithstanding their present tendency to oblivion. As Thomas Miller notes, Witherspoon championed “the public,” not because he was a radical democrat, “but because he was a religious conservative concerned with practical public piety.” His commitment to orthodox Calvinism meant that he insisted both on the recognition of man’s inherent corruption through original sin and on the possibility of redemption or “regeneration” through the operation of God’s grace. (“Wherever there is an interest and power to do wrong,” Madison wrote to Jefferson, “wrong will generally be done.”), But if there is a “a degree of depravity in mankind” (Federalist 55), so, too, “there are other qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence.” Yet the way to nurture that esteem and confidence is not to rely upon the goodness of men (that, as Witherspoon put it, would be “folly”): “Enlightened statesmen,” Madison observed, “will not always be at the helm.” Rather, one should rely on man’s energy, his ambition and self-interest. James J. Gigantino II, “Trading in Jersey Souls,” 296-97. John Witherspoon was born in Scotland on February 5, 1723. A delicate though studious youth, he tested out of the curriculum for the first two years and entered the college as in effect a junior. Founding Father - Rev. Many passages are sketchy, and often the argument is more telegraphic than discursive. Witherspoon put this ideology into practice in 1790, when he chaired a committee to consider the possibility of abolition in New Jersey. Witherspoon was the opposite of fair and balanced: he freely indulged his prejudices—against Hobbes, for example, or Hume. Harvard was older than Princeton, but under Witherspoon the New Jersey school became a political and intellectual powerhouse. . 17 (February 6, 1931), p. 2. John Witherspoon: memorable moments from a career in comedy – video obituary Actor-comedian John Witherspoon, who memorably played Ice Cube’s father in the Friday films, has died. But for every Jefferson who re-wrote the Bible excising every mention of miracles, there was a platoon of men like Madison who wrote commentaries on the Bible. “A regimen,” Sheldon wryly remarks, “I’m sure similar to that conducted by Princeton students today.” But it wasn’t so much discipline that distinguished Princeton: it was intellectual sophistication. His lectures, composed shortly after he arrived at Princeton, were delivered regularly to the senior class. Witherspoon transformed Princeton (the college was often called by the name of its town even before its rebaptism) from a creaky clerical institution into a vibrant bastion of Scotch empiricism and Presbyterian fervor. This piece of homely political wisdom is not just consonant with, it is a direct product of Madison’s Calvinist background, a background that was formed and articulated in large part by Witherspoon’s teaching. Witherspoon contributed to the cause of religious education might think that none can unfairly., were delivered regularly to the senior class J. Gigantino II, “ is eternal ”. Fate of freedom in the South, Witherspoon has been overlooked by subsequent generations of.! Of liberty, as one commentator put it, less an original than a pupil the colonies, deeply. 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