Monday, October 19, 2015

Catholic Historian Dawson on the USA

"The roots of American democracy, moreover, are not only European but Christian, for it is impossible to disregard the importance of the religious factor in the settlement of North America.  Whether we look to the original settlement at Plymouth, or the Puritan theocracy in Massachusetts, at Roger William's experiment at Rhode Island, or the Quaker settlement of Pennsylvania, we find the religious note is the dominant and creative element in the new society; and the same is true in French Canada, above all in the case of Montreal which provides a remarkable parallel to the foundation of Plymouth by the English pilgrims.  It is true that the actual founders of the United States were men of the Enlightenment, and it is easy to interpret the Declaration of Independence and the State Constitutions exclusively in terms of eighteenth-century rationalism.  Nevertheless, the fact remains that the fundamental principle of the whole American system is a religious one - the divine right of the human person against political power and social privilege and economic interests."

-Christopher Dawson

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