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2 - God and Nature’s Law in the Pamphlet Debates

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 December 2022

Kody W. Cooper
Affiliation:
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
Justin Buckley Dyer
Affiliation:
University of Texas, Austin
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Summary

The pamphlets written during the great transatlantic debate spanning the 1760s and early 1770s are a window into the theoretical frame of the American mind in the years leading to the Declaration of Independence. The shared background assumptions of those pamphlets include the existence of a providential God whose governance of the world was an essential premise in their natural-law theories of morality and law. Most of the leading lights of the patriotic pamphleteers held their natural-law principles within a Christian frame, and the pamphlets they wrote in the 1760s and 1770s cast light on the ideas the colonists put forward, with one united voice, in the Declaration of Independence.This chapter highlights major contributors to the pamphlet debates, with particular attention given to two influential pamphleteers, James Otis and John Dickinson.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Classical and Christian Origins of American Politics
Political Theology, Natural Law, and the American Founding
, pp. 29 - 74
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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