Armstrong, John

PA — 11 September 1777.

Because democratic self-government requires a special kind of culture — one that fosters self-reliant selves — the Protestantism of the Founding Fathers also helped the Revolution succeed. Their Protestant worldview placed an intense value on the individual — his conscience, the state of his soul, his understanding of Scripture, his personal relation to God, his salvation. It was an easy step for them to assume that, as each man was endowed by his Creator with an immortal soul immediately related to God, so he was similarly endowed with rights that are not the donation of Law, as Constitution signer William Livingston put it, but prior to all political Institution and resulting in the Nature of Man.

Myron Magnet
The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735 - 1817 (2014)