Thinking historically about diversity: religion, the enlightenment, and the construction of civic culture in early America.
Underlying these subjects, and vet not much explored in the historical literature, is a deeper theoretical problem that became prominent around 1700 and which helped establish the basic contours of much of modern thought and culture. That problem was the potential incommensurability of diverse conceptions of good. Incommensurability means that no common standard or principle exists to rank the diverse goods that human beings pursue. Different individuals, or the same individual at different times, pursue different goods such as education or riches because they possess varying conceptions of good. Their conceptions are incommensurable when they lack a common standard or principle to rank these goods, either as individuals in private pursuits or as members of society in social policy.
Thomas Hobbes brought the problem of incommensurability to the fore at the end of the religious and nation-state wars in the 1650s. In Leviathan, Hobbes argued that judgments or conceptions of good simply reflect individual desires, or what he called individual "appetites and aversions." Hobbes further maintained that such desires differ in different individuals as well as in the same individual at different times. Other than the power of the state, Hobbes suggested no common standard or principle to rank these desires in individual pursuits or social policy. As he explained,
Morall Philosophy is nothing else but the Science of what is Good, and Evill, in the conversation, and Society of man-kind. Good, and Evill, are names that signifie our Appetites, and Aversions; which in different tempers, customes, and doctrines of men, are different: And divers men, differ not onely in their Judgement, on the senses of what is pleasant, and unpleasant to the tast, smell, hearing, touch, and sight; but also of what is conformable, or disagreeable to Reason, in the actions of common life. Nay, the same man, in divers times, differs from himselfe; and one time praiseth, that is, calleth Good, what another time he dispraiseth, and calleth Evil. (3)
The problem of incommensurability warrants careful exploration because it was central in shaping the modern tradition of enlightened discourse. As late-seventeenth and eighteenth century figures addressed the problem, they rejected Hobbes's reliance on coercive state power to organize the incommensurable pursuits of human nature. Rather. following the religious and nation-state wars of earlier generations, they sought to restructure the basis of their polities. With a new focus on human will and desire, they reconceived the relationship between the individual and society.. And with a new sensitivity regarding the limited purpose of politics, they sought to construct a civic culture independent of state coercion. The print trade and secular politics Were parts of such efforts.
Religion, however, was a particularly crucial part of these efforts. The existence of different moral judgments and diverse religious groups, and thus the need for theories and policies of religious toleration, highlighted the problem of incommensurability. As one author noted in explaining the intractable commitments of diverse religious groups, "Their Judgements, their Consciences and Hearts are convinced and engaged." (4)
Exploring the roles assigned religion in the enlightened attempts to redefine the relationship between the individual and society, and to construct an independent civic culture will thus reveal a crucial source for the development of distinctly modern forms of thought and culture. It will also reveal important influences in early American politics and culture that helped shape American revolutionary and constitutional thought. Part one of this exploration focuses on the English philosopher John Locke, the British pamphleteers John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, New York's William Livingston, and John Adams of Massachusetts. Part two focuses on the Scottish philosophers Francis Hutcheson and David Fordyce, and the curricula at Harvard College and the College of Philadelphia on the eve of the American Revolution.
CULTURE, RELIGION, AND THE INCOMMENSURABLE SELF
Historical judgments about John Locke's influence in the early modern era have varied in recent decades. Once considered primary, contextualization of his writing in late seventeenth-century England reduced Locke's influence. Yet Locke remains important for at least three reasons. First, he consistently addressed the problem of sectarian strife, (5) the solution to which helped establish the modern state and modern policies of toleration. (6) Second, his thought influenced writers ranging from the British pamphleteers John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon to New York's William Livingston and Massachusetts John Adams. In fact, various eighteenth-century Americans read Locke (7) and his Essay concerning Human Understanding (1690) was part of eighteenth-century American higher education.
Third, Locke developed a distinctly modern conception of the "self" rooted in the consciousness of pleasure and pain, happiness and misery. (8) "Self is that conscious thinking thing," he explained, "which is sensible, or conscious of Pleasure and Pain, capable of Happiness or Misery, and so is concern'd for it self." (9) Significantly, Locke insisted that the self appropriated its own actions in the form of merit. "Person, as I take it, is the name for this self," he maintained. "It is a Forensick Term appropriating Actions and their Merit." Locke thus argued that a sense of accountability and merit were intrinsic to the self because it was conscious of reward for certain actions as a form of pleasure and punishment for other actions as pain:
This personality extends it self beyond present Existence to what is past, only by consciousness, whereby it becomes concerned and accountable, owns and imputes to it self past Actions.... And to receive Pleasure or Pain, i.e. Reward or Punishment on the account of such Action, is all one, as to be made happy or miserable. (10)
In its full elaboration, Locke's depiction of the self underlies the modern notion of incommensurability. It also informed his reflection on three enlightened themes related to incommensurability--diversity, culture, and religion.
Locke's understanding of the self particularly informed his treatment of diversity, as he argued that conceptions of good merely reflect individual senses of pleasure and pain: "what has an aptness to produce Pleasure in us, is that we call Good, and what is apt to produce Pain in us, we call Evil, for no other reason, but for it's aptness to produce Pleasure and Pain in us." (11) This understanding of the mind's judgment in forming conceptions of good undermined the traditional notion of supreme good or summum bonum of human life. Comparing such judgment to the mere taste of "the Palate," Locke emphasized the "great variety" in conceptions of good:
The Mind has a different relish, as well as the Palate; and you will as fruitlesly endeavour to delight all Men with Riches or Glory, (which yet some men place their Happiness in,) as you would to satisfy all Men's Hunger with Cheese or Lobsters; ... Hence it was, I think, that the Philosophers of old did in vain enquire, whether Summum bonum consisted in Riches, or bodily Delights, or Virtue, or Contemplation: And they might have as reasonably disputed, whether the best Relish were to be found in Apples, Plumbs, or Nuts; and have divided themselves into Sects upon it. For as pleasant Tastes depend not on the things themselves, but their agreeableness to this or that particular Palate, wherein there is great variety: So the greatest Happiness consists, in the having those things, which produce the greatest Pleasure; and in the absence of those, which cause any disturbance, any pain. Now these, to different Men, are very different things.... [Thus] it will be no wonder to find variety and difference. (12)
Locke's description in this paragraph reveals a crucial part of his thought. He argued that happiness does not consist in the natural or intrinsic good of the objects being pursued--"the things in themselves"--but in the way those objects produce pleasure or pain in "this or that particular" mind. His description of the mind's judgment in forming conceptions of good thus indicated that objects of pursuit could not be measured according to a supreme good or a natural hierarchy of goods. For him, conceptions of good were not naturally commensurable, but reflected the great variety in personal tastes.
In explaining his argument about the mind's judgment of good, Locke's writing occasionally shaded into a related, yet distinct proposition. This separate proposition concerned the relationship between the understanding and will. Locke maintained that the mind or understanding of persons could perceive greater good in certain objects without that perception necessarily determining their desires and will: "their desires are not moved by this greater apparent good, nor their wills determin'd to any. action, or endeavor for its attainment." (13) Locke repeated this point that the perceived greater good, "though apprehended and acknowledge" by the understanding, does not naturally determine the will:
It seems so establish'd and settled a maxim by the general consent of all Mankind, That good, the greater good, determines the will, that I do not at all wonder, that when I first publish'd my thoughts on this Subject, I took it for granted; and I imagine, that by a great many I shall be thought more excusable, for having then done so, than that now I have ventur'd to recede from so received an Opinion. But yet upon a stricter enquiry, I am forced to conclude that good, the greater good, though apprehended and acknowledged to be so, does not determine the will. (14)
Such a description of the relationship between the understanding and will, indicating that even the perception of greater good in certain objects did not necessarily determine the will, could suggest the need for a political resolution of a coercive nature. One might argue, that is, that the state should provide what the individual lacked, coercively directing the desires and wills of individuals to pursue the objects-that their own understandings apprehended or perceived to possess greater good. Yet such d political resolution to the problem of the understanding and will was not what Locke had in mind in this context. Although he, like other enlightened writers, suggested that public policy could channel individual desires into socially constructive behavior, his point in the context of describing the understanding and will was simply to distinguish temporally distant and absent objects from more immediate and present objects in the consciousness of an individual. An individual, he argued, might apprehend or perceive that certain absent objects possessed the greater good of more happiness and vet that individual might still desire present object that provide a more immediate though ultimately lesser happiness. As Locke explained, "Men often are not raised to the desire of the greatest absent Rood." As a result, "The future [good] loses its just proportion, and what is present, obtains the preference as the greater." (15)
The major obstacle to the practice of delayed gratification, according to Locke, was that the mind lacked an endowed sense or ability that naturally ranked its desires and motivated its will according to the perceived good in their objects. The Lockean self lacked an intrinsic sense of a hierarchy of moral inclinations and purposes. (16) Not only were the diverse judgments of different individuals incommensurable for Locke, but the desires within the individual self were similarly incommensurable. As one scholar explains, "The Lockean will ... has no rational ordering principle of its own. The strengths of uneasinesses or desires are not necessarily proportional to the amounts of good in the ideas that cause them." (17) Thus undetermined by perceived greater good, or by any intrinsic moral end or purpose, the Lockean self was a distinctly modern self. It possessed freedom to structure its own choices or to determine a flood of its own choosing. As Locke explained, "the very end of our Freedom being, that we might attain the good we chuse." (18) Such liberty, as another scholar explains, was "the most effective solvent of the natural-law attitude" which posited an intrinsic or natural structure of duties and ends. (19)
Although not naturally determined by perceived greater good, the Lockean self was to use its liberty to proportion its desires to some system of measure or ranking of perceived good. The mechanism or source for such a measuring system of good was not always explicit or obvious in Locke's writing. However, because the Lockean self lacked an endowed sense that naturally performed this ranking function, Locke was clear that the proportioning of desire and good was a formative and disciplined process. (20) He maintained that it required a duly considerate and analytical use of the power of liberty which, he suggested, could forge the understanding and will into some measure of alignment. As he explained. "by a due consideration and examining any good proposed, it is in our Dower, to raise our desires, in a due proportion to the value of that good, whereby in its turn, and place, it may, come to work upon the will." (21) For Locke, in other words, liberty was the power of character formation. (22) It was a disciplining power to alter the mind's desires by making the self find pleasure in the perception and practice of the good of virtue:
The relish of the mind is as various as that of the Body, and like that too may be alter'd; and 'tis a mistake to think, that Men cannot change the displeasingness, or indifferency, that is in actions, into pleasure and desire, if they will do but what is in their power. A due consideration will do it in some cases; and practice, application, and custom in most. Bread and Tobacco may be neglected, where they are shewn to be useful to health, because of an indifferency or disrelish to them; reason and consideration at first recommends, and begins their trial, and use finds, or custom makes them pleasant. That this is so in Vertue too, is very certain. (23)
Locke insisted the mind could be disciplined to take pleasure in virtue:
[T]he pleasure of the action it self is best acquir'd, or increased, by use and practice. Trials often reconcile us to that, which at a distance we looked on with aversion; and by repetition wears us into a liking, of what possibly, in the first essay, displeased us. Habits have powerful charms, and put so strong attractions of easiness and pleasure into what we accustom our selves to, that we cannot forbear to do, or least be easy in the omission of actions, which habitual practice has suited, and thereby recommends to us. (24)
According to Locke, the means by which the self disciplined its desires to take pleasure in the-perceived good of virtue included "due consideration," "practice," "application," "custom," "use and practice," "repetition," "accustoming ourselves," "habits," and "habitual practice." In an individual, these means are forms of self-discipline. In a society, they are forms of culture. Such habitual practice and customed repetition were not intrinsically natural for the Lockean self, but they were the mechanisms of culture by which the self measured or ranked its perceptions of good and thereby proportioned its desires to the good of virtue. Locke's resolution for the problem of incommensurability, and the disjuncture between the understanding and will, was thus cultural rather than political. The resolution, as noted below, depended on what Locke called the "law of opinion or reputation," a cultural system of social accommodation in the perception of good. Historians often overlook Locke's constructive views of culture as a formative and disciplining measure of perceived good because they emphasize his criticisms, as when Locke cautioned against "ill habits" whereby "the just value of thinks are misplaced, and the palates of Men" corrupted." Yet Locke's remedy or the habits for an ill culture was file re-disciplining of the mind's sense of pleasure: "Pains should be taken to rectify these [ill habits]; and contrary habits change our pleasures. " (25)
For Locke, such disciplining was a social as well as an individual endeavor. He sought constructive versions of cultural habits and practices as the basis for forming individual character and as a Foundation for civil society because he envisioned modern politics as neither depending upon the coercive power of the state nor as predicated upon the mere expression anal pursuit of individual will. (26) That this was so is evident in how Locke specifically linked the formation of such civic habits and practices to religion. He addressed the relationship between religion and culture while identifying three laws "that Men generally refer their Actions to"--"I. The Divine Law. 2. The Civil Law. 3. The Law of Opinion or Reputation." (27)
Locke described civil law as "the Rewards and Punishments ... suitable to the Power that makes it: which is the force of the Commonwealth, engaged to protect the Lives, Liberties, and Possessions" of citizens. (28) Locke segregated civil law from divine law because he denied the state the coercive legal power to reward or punish in matters of religious belief and worship. (29)
Locke next discussed the relationship between civil law and culture, or the law of opinion or reputation. Although he argued that citizens resigned their use of force to the state for the making of civil law, he insisted that they retained the cultural power of opinion or reputation:
For though Men uniting into politick Societies, have resigned up to the publick the disposing of all their Force, so that they cannot employ it against any Fellow-Citizens, any farther than the Law of the Country directs: yet they retain still the power of Thinking well or ill; approving or disapproving of the actions of those whom they live amongst, and converse with: And by this approbation and dislike they establish amongst themselves, what they will call Vertue and Vice. (30)
For Locke, this cultural power of reputation helped members of society "govern themselves." It helped discipline or "accommodate one another to a measuring system of perceived good in the rules and habits of virtue. This cultural system of social accommodation in the perception of good operated through the reward and punishment of "Commendation and Disgrace":
If any one shall imagine, that I have forgot my own Notion of a Law, when I make the Law, whereby Men judge of Vertue and Vice, to be nothing else, but the consent of private Men, who have not Authority enough to make a Law: Especially wanting that, which is so necessary, and essential to a Law, a Power to inforce it: I think, I may say, that he, who imagines Commendation and Disgrace, not to be strong Motives on Men, to accommodate themselves to the Opinions and Rules of those, with whom they converse, seems little skill'd in the Nature, or History of Mankind: the greatest part whereof he shall find to govern themselves chiefly, if not solely, by this Law of Fashion. (31)
Locke advocated a constructive role for religion in forming habits within a diverse civil society at the cultural level of reputation. He promoted the independence of civic culture by resisting that cavil law be segregated from divine law and the law of reputation. Yet, for him, the cultural law of reputation was not divorced from divine law or religion. (32) He assumed some would misunderstand the relationship between culture and religion, (33) and he acknowledged that culture--"the original and nature of moral Ideas"--varies in different societies. (34) Yet, understanding religion in the Mosaic terms of a law or rule of right and wrong, Locke clearly viewed religion as informing the habits and customs of virtue that are the essence of culture:
For since nothing can be more natural, than to encourage with Esteem and Reputation, that, wherein every one finds his Advantage; and to blame and discountenance the contrary: 'tis no Wonder, that Esteem and Discredit, Vertue and Vice, should in a great measure correspond with the unchangeable Rule of Right and Wrong, which the Law of God hath established; there being nothing, that so directly, and visibly secures, and advances the general Good of Mankind in this World, as Obedience to the Laws, he has set them, and nothing that breeds such Mischiefs and Confusion, as the neglect of them. (35)
Locke confirmed the role of religion in the cultural formation of virtuous habits in a separate publication. (36) His view of religion as functioning within culture to advance the "Good of Mankind in this World" raises questions about his Letter concerning Toleration (1689). Therein, Locke sought "to distinguish exactly the Business of Civil Government from that of Religion, and to settle the just Bounds that lie between the one and the other. (37) One scholar thus describes Locke as advocating the "utter separation of church and state." (38) Yet, more specifically, Locke sought to prevent the state's coercive use of legal penalties such as imprisonment or the confiscation of property for religion--" to be punished in either Body or Goods, for not imbracing our Faith and Worship." He separated divine law and civil law so as to "take away the Penalties unto which [religious dissenters] are subjected." He denied that the magistrate is "permitted to introduce, any thing into Religion, by the means of Laws and Penalties," for such Penalties are not ways capable to produce Belief." "I affirm," Locke concluded, "Penalties in this case are absolutely impertinent." (39)
Near the turn of the eighteenth century, then, Locke offered a coherently enlightened way of addressing central themes in the development of early modern and modern thought. (40) He grounded diversity in a distinctly modern psychology of motivation. He defined liberty as requiring self-directed choice and self-discipline. Locke also advanced enlightened culture in which concern for reputation helped form the perceived good of virtuous customs and habits by appealing to the self's consciousness of social reward and punishment. And he linked this cultural formation of virtue to religion which, understood in Mosaic terms but divorced from thee coercive power of legal penalty, functioned constructively to sustain a civil society composed of varying desires and conceptions of good.
Because of the print trade, Locke's thought was transmitted to subsequent generations throughout the North Atlantic, including American colonists. In some cases, the transmission was direct. More than half of eighteenth-century American libraries included copies of Locke's Essay. (41) Other libraries included copies of the Locke's collected Works (1714). (42) The College of Rhode Island also used Locke's Essay in the classroom as part of the culmination of humanities study in the senior year. (43)
In other cases, the transatlantic transmission of Locke's thought was indirect. In Britain, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon popularized central aspects of Locke's thought in the early 1720s in the Independent Whig and Cato's Letters. (44) In declaring that the "marks between good and evil [are] no more than those between pleasure and pain," Trenchard and Gordon expressed the motivational psychology underlying Lockean diversity, that conceptions of good merely reflect individual desires and aversions. They similarly emphasized the self's intrinsic sense of reward and punishment by grounding the perceived good and formation of virtuous habits in the self's awareness of social reputation: "the pleasures and fears of particular men, being the great engines by which they are to be governed, must be consulted: vice must be rendered detestable and dangerous; virtue amiable and advantageous." (45) It was in this sense of the cultural formation of virtuous habits that Trenchard and Gordon sought "to inculcate the plain Precepts of Faith and Morality, or to promote useful knowledge, true Vertue, and sound Religion." (46)
Shortly after the appearance of Cato's Letters in Britain, American newspapers began reprinting its essays. The Philadelphia American Weekly Mercury did so in the 1720s and the New York Weekly Journal followed in the 1730s. (47) Newspapers in Boston and South Carolina also printed "Cato" essays. These essays were accompanied by two complete American editions of the Independent Whig by 1750, (48) and more thereafter. (49)
In fact, three New Yorkers--William Livingston, William Smith, Jr., and William Morin Scott--patterned their provincial Independent Reflector after the Independent Whig. Writing in the New York Gazette in 1753, Smith responded to a critic who had noted the imitation:
You could not, Sir, have done a greater Honour to the Abilities of the Independent Reflector, than by allowing him a Capacity to imitate the Independent Whigg, who had one of the finest Pens in Europe, and is justly esteem'd, a signal Ornament to the Republic of Letters. (50)
The Independent Reflector conveyed central aspects of the enlightened thought associated with Locke, and Trenchard and Gordon, to the American public after 1750. Such enlightened thought, of course, was not divorced from its social context. Mid-eighteenth-century New York differed considerably from late seventeenth-century England, as demographics reveal. New York included English, German, Dutch, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, and Irish immigrants, and thus Anglican, Quaker, Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, and Presbyterian elements. It also included small numbers of French and Jewish immigrants. (51) Such diverse demographics required a uniquely, competitive and contentious style of politics. (52) One example of such politics was the controversy over whether the College of New York, founded in 1754, would possess Anglican characteristics despite the Anglicans minority status amidst the ethnic and religious diversity of mid-century New York.
The distinctiveness of American society made the enlightened thought associated with Locke, and Trenchard and Gordon, seem more relevant to American writers, publishers, and readers. William Livingston, the Reflector's main author, discussed pleasure and happiness not simply in Locke's abstract philosophical sense, but also in a descriptive manner suggesting characteristics of a mid-century New Yorker: "the Advancement of his Happiness, is the only rational Motive by which his Will could be determined." (53) Livingston similarly used enlightened thought to explain that, in a more fluid American society, human ambition for public reputation and merit, grounded in the awareness of special reward and punishment, was an indispensable stimulation to virtue:
[T]he pleasing and animating View of being distinguished by his Country, from the common Run of his Species, in proportion to his Merit, is a perpetual Stimulation to Virtue: It is a kind of intellectual Gale, that fans the Fire of Ambition.... [W]e must take Men as they are, and if we consult the Motives that generally influence their Conduct, we shall find, that Rewards and Punishments are the Hinges. (54)
Livingston also linked the cultural process of virtue formation to religion. He did so, significantly, in the contemporary political debate over Anglican plans for the College of New York. Similar to Locke, Livingston advocated "due Bounds" between religion and civil government to prevent the use of legal penalties in religion. He referred to the irrationality of trying to "punish Men by penal Laws, for not believing right" and concluded, "what little Foundation there is for calling in the secular Arm for the Support of Religion, or forcing the Conscience by Pains and Penalties." (55) With such safeguards in place, Livingston explained the importance of religion for the uniquely diverse New York society. Although he opposed plans for the predominance of Anglican styles of worship at the College of New York, he described the importance of religion to the College's mission in terms of the cultivation of discipline: "That religious Worship should be constantly maintained there, I am-so far froth opposing, that I strongly recommend it, and do not believe any such Kind of Society, "can be kept under a regular and dub Discipline without it." Livingston certainly opposed "instructing the Youth in any particular Systems of Divinity" or "any single Method of Worship," obvious references to Anglican plans for the College. Yet he countenanced a constructive role for religion in the cultural process of virtue formation: "Let us discountenance Vice, and revere that Religion which will make us wiser and better." (56)
Similar to the circulation of Trenchard and Gordon's work, Livingston's Reflector reached a wide colonial audience. Inhabitants of Philadelphia read the Reflector, including Benjamin Franklin. Inhabitants of Boston similarly received the New York paper and many of its essays were reprinted in Boston magazines. Shortly before the American Revolution, students at the College of New Jersey used the Reflector's essays as literary models for their own work. And John Adams was well acquainted with the Reflector even before meeting its three authors in 1775. (57)
A prominent fixture of the American revolutionary generation Adams served as the Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congresses of the mid-1770s and chair of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776. In addition to helping draft the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, Adams wrote Thoughts on Government (1776), Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America (1786-87), and Discourses on Davila (1791). Adams considered the latter work, which first appeared serially in the Gazette of the United States, as the fourth volume of his three-volume Defence. (58) Collectively, such works composed what Gordon Wood calls Adams's "significant contributions to American constitutionalism." (59)
Embedded in Adams's contributions to American constitutionalism was the system of enlightened thought on diversity, culture, and religion bequeathed from earlier generations. "in inheriting this thought, Adams did not simply reflect on it philosophically, but, similar to Livingston, used it in contemporary political debate from the 1770s to the early 1790s.
While in Philadelphia in the mid-1770s as part of the Continental Congress, Adams went to various religious services. He attended, as John Witte, Jr. explains, "Presbyterian, Anglican, Catholic, Quaker, Baptist, and "Methodist churches alike." (60) After the Revolution had begun and Adams returned home, he drafted most of a proposed state constitution for the Massachusetts constitutional convention of the late 1770s. In authoring Article II of the Declaration of Rights of this Constitution, Adams sought to protect religious diversity in terms similar to his enlightened predecessors. Article II prohibited the use of legal penalties in bodies or goods for religion: "no subject shall "be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping GOD in the manner most agreeable" "to the dictates of his own conscience; or, for his religious profession or sentiments." (61)
Adams also supported a version of Article III of the Declaration of Rights, which, similar to earlier enlightened writings, linked the disciplining morality of religion to the functioning of civil society. (62) The Article's preamble stated, "Good morals being necessary to the preservation of civil society; and the knowledge and belief of the "being of GOD, His providential government of the world, and of a future state of rewards and punishment, being the only true foundation of morality...." (63)
Following this preamble Article "III prescribed a legal framework for funding public worship anal what it termed "teachers of religion and morals." The Article indicated a possible role for the state legislature in providing such funds "if necessary" and suggested the channeling of the funds to the denomination of each individual's choosing. (64) In considering this draft, the state convention substituted a different version of Article III in the Constitution's final design. The convention changed the Article's wording to clarify the legislature's role as merely authorizing local towns "to make suitable [financial] provision" for public worship," (65) but reaffirmed the Article's original emphasis on the necessity of morality and religion to civil society. (66) When this final draft was submitted to the public for ratification, evangelical Baptists vehemently opposed Article III by insisting that it violated biblical precept. (67) Adams, however, supported the Article as a mild state encouragement to religious morality which precluded the coercive apparatus of earlier religious establishments. As one scholar explains, Adams opposed and the Article lacked "state prescriptions of religious doctrine, liturgies, and sacred texts; slate controls of religious properties, polities, and personnel; state persecution of religious heresy, blasphemy, and nonconformity." (68) Massachusetts voters ratified the proposed Constitution, including Article III, in 1780. (69)
In the decade after ratification, Adams penned Defence of the Constitutions of the United States and Discourses on Davila. These works were part of Adams's endeavor to develop a coherent and systematic science of politics. He wrote the first three volumes of Defence in the 1780s and emphasized the secular nature of American constitutionalism. He grounded the Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority, of the people alone, without pretence of miracle or mystery." He insisted that it can "never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of Heaven." "Rather, "it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely, by the use of reason and the senses." (70)
Although Adams's preclusion of godly inspiration from the sources of American constitutionalism was uncontroversial, his Discourses of the early 1790s provoked significant debate about the meaning of that constitutionalism. This debate concerned contemporary events in France. Even though the French Revolution was still in its early and relatively peaceful phase, Adams disapproved of what he saw as the Revolution's tendency toward unbridled authority, or the placing of the "whole power of the nation" in the one national assembly of the "states general." (71) For some, Adams's concern with assembly authority resembled his earlier advocacy for using titles in recognizing social distinctions as when he suggested addressing George Washington as "His Majesty the President." These views led some Americans including Thomas Jefferson to accuse Adams of aristocratic tendencies and anti-republican sentiments. (72)
However, Adams's point in these contexts, especially in the debate about the French Revolution, merely reflected his emphasis on institutional checks and balances, and the division of power. Such emphasis was evident not only in Discourses, but also in his earlier "Thoughts on Government and his opposition in 1776 to Thomas Paine's notion of a "single democratic assembly." (73) Some historians, no doubt, view Adams's Discourses as incongruous with this earlier, supposedly more democratic, thought. (74) Despite possible shifts in intellectual inflection, however," Discourses embodied Adams's consistent emphasis on checks, balances, and limits.
Indeed, Adams's concern with institutional checks on governing authority, which he expressed throughout his career, mirrored his advocacy for cultural checks on social fragmentation and corrosion, which increasingly concerned him by 1790. He advocated such cultural checks in emphasizing the importance for American society of the "law of reputation." He viewed this law as a socializing force: "There is in human nature ... the desire of reputation, in order to make us good members of society." (75) Adams further described the law of reputation as an irrevocable passion informing all aspects of culture such as work, family, education, and religion:
As nature intended [men] for society, she has furnished them with passions ... to render them useful to each other in their social connections. There is none among them more essential or remarkable, than the passion for distinction. A desire to be observed, considered, esteemed, praised, beloved, and admired by his fellows, is one of the earliest, as well as keenest dispositions discovered in the heart of man. If one should doubt the existence of this propensity, let him go and attentively observe the journeymen and apprentices in the first workshop, or the oarsmen in the cockboat, a family or neighborhood, the inhabitants of a house or the crew of a ship, a school or a college, a city or a village, ... a hospital or a church. (76)
Following his enlightened predecessors, Adams grounded the culture of reputation in the awareness of social reward and punishment. "He argued that reputation helped form the habits of a self-governing society--helped socialize mere individual will--by appealing to the sell's-intrinsic awareness of social esteem and contempt. Referring to human nature, he explained,
The same nature therefore has imposed [a] law, that of promoting the good, as well as respecting the rights of mankind, and has sanctioned it by other rewards and punishments. The rewards in this case, in this life, are esteem and admiration of others; the punishments are neglect and contempt; nor may any one imagine that theses are not ... of equal importance to individuals, to families, and to nations. (77)
Adams envisioned esteem and contempt as cultural mechanisms for molding social morality. He described the desire for reputation as "the foundation of our whole moral system" (78) because he viewed culture--not the penalties of civil law--as socializing the will by molding its passions into virtue: "It is of the highest importance to education, to life, and to society, not only that they [the passions] should not be destroyed, but that they should be gratified, encouraged, and arranged on the side of virtue." Much of Adams's Discourses examined this process of how culture "must affect the passion for distinction; and how it must excite the ardor and virtuous emulation of the citizens." (79) Arranging the passions of the will on the side of virtue was, in Adams's words, to give them a "happy turn," to "direct them to right objects, and to reward them with the pleasurable approbation" of "worthy conduct." "Reputation," as he explained, is common to every human being. There are no men who are not ambitious of distinguishing themselves and growing considerable among those with whom they converse. This ambition is natural to the human soul. And as, when it receives a happy turn, it is the source of private felicity and public prosperity, and when it errs, produces private uneasiness and public calamities; it is the business and duty of private prudence, of private and public education, and of national policy, to direct it to right objects. For this purpose it should be considered, that to every man who is capable of a worthy conduct, the pleasure from the approbation of worthy men is exquisite and inexpressible. (80)
As had his predecessors, Adams specifically linked the cultural production of virtue to religion throughout his career. Writing to his cousin in 1776, he explicitly linked religion and morality to freedom, "'Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion" and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand." (81) In 1780, he supported the encouragement of religion in Article III of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights because he viewed religion as essential to the social formation of virtue. And in 1811, he identified both--religion and virtue--as the foundation of free government and social felicity: "religion and virtue are the only "foundation, not only of republicanism and of all free government, but of social felicity under all governments and in-all the combinations of human society." (82) Further reflecting on religion, Adams recalled conversations between his childhood minister Lemuel Bryant and his Latin school master Joseph Cleverly:
The Parson and the Pedagogue lived much together, but were eternally disputing about Government and Religion. One day, when the Schoolmaster had been more than commonly fanatical, and declared "if he were a Monark, He would have but one Religion in his Dominions." The Parson coolly replied "Cleverly! You would be the best Man in the World, if You had no Religion." (83)
The enlightened stream of thought Adams inherited and employed in-defining American constitutionalism established a moderate position between the extremes of one religion and no religion in civic culture. Developed in response to the religious and nation-state wars of earlier generations, this enlightened stream of thought addressed sectarian strife by segregating civil law from divine law, eliminating civil penalties for religion, and insisting on protections for religious diversity. Advocates of this enlightened thought also sought to construct a society that relied on the cultural formation of virtue rather than the coercive power of the state to stabilize the various and often incommensurable pursuits of human goods. These advocates explicitly linked the process of culture-formation to religion. Indeed, they took culture and religion seriously because absent the coercive power of the state in the context of their focus on human will and desire, they sought to create a polity based on something beyond the mere subjective wills of its citizens. That something was the customs and habits of culture, supported and informed by religion.
CULTURE, RELIGION, AND THE COMMENSURABLE SELF
In the enlightened discourse of the eighteenth century, religious toleration did not require a philosophical commitment to incommensurability. In fact, Locke's depiction of the incommensurable self was a subject of dispute among subsequent enlightened advocates of toleration and secular government. Much of that dispute criticized the depiction of a self lacking an endowed sense to measure or rank its perceptions of good. As the third Earl of Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, remarked in 1709,
It was Mr. Locke that struck the home blow: for Mr. Hobbes's character and base slavish principles in government took off the point of his philosophy. "Twas Mr. Locke that struck at all Fundamentals, threw all Order and Virtue out of the World, and made the very Ideas of these ... unnatural, and without Foundation in our Minds. (84)
The task of establishing a natural foundation of virtue, and combining that foundation with secular government and individual rights in religion, characterized the Scottish philosophies of Francis Hutcheson and David Fordyce. Hutcheson began exploring the natural basis of virtue in his Inquiry concerning the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725). Subsequently, as professor of moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow, he wrote A System of Moral Philosophy (1755). Similarly, Fordyce was a mortal philosopher at the University of Aberdeen who authored Element off-Moral Philosophy. (1754). (85) Both authors proposed an endowed moral sense mat structured individual choice by ordering or ranking human desires according to a measure of perceived good in their objects. (86) Both authors also enjoyed influence in America. (87) Leaders at the College of New York and the College of Rhode Island incorporated Hutcheson's philosophy into their curricula after mid-century. (88) The vice-provost and leading professor at the College of Philadelphia, Francis Alison, was a close intellectual disciple of Hutcheson. And Fordyce's Elements was a predominant influence at Harvard College on the eve of the American Revolution. (89) In response to the notion of incommensurability, these enlightened writers addressed diversity, culture, and religion in distinct ways.
A natural foundation of virtue required an intrinsic ability in the mind to render the various desires of the self commensurable according to some measure of perceived good. Hutcheson promised the discovery of such an ability by suggesting it would brink "order and subordination" to the desires of human nature that otherwise would be a "confused fabrick." As he explained, considering
the several senses or powers of perception, by which a great multitude of objects may be the occasion of pleasure or pain, or of some sorts of happiness or misery; and a like enumeration of many dispositions of will, or determinations of desire; human nature must appear a very complex and confused fabrick, unless we can discover some order and subordination among these powers, and thus discern which of them is naturally fit to govern. (90)
Hutcheson identified a "moral faculty" as naturally fit to govern the powers or desires of the mind. (91) He sought to show a moral sense to be naturally destined to command all the other powers." (92) By "moral sense," Hutcheson meant a natural sense of virtue and vice, or natural feelings of moral approbation and abhorrence regarding affections and actions. "We all feel," Hutcheson explained, "affections and actions ... raise the most joyful sensations of approbation" and "we are conscious of contrary affections and actions [when] we feel an inward remorse." (93) Lecturing at the College of Philadelphia in 1759 Alison more succinctly identified an instinctive Approbation of Right, & Abhorrence of Wrong ... which we call Moral Sense." (94) At Aberdeen, Fordyce similarly emphasized a "Moral Sense which, by a native kind of Authority, judges of Affections and Actions, pronouncing some just and good, and others unjust and ill." (95)
By "affections," these moral-sense thinkers meant higher order desires or passions. Indeed, the notion of a natural order or hierarchy of desires was central to their theory because they claimed the moral sense naturally ranked desires and actions by, its degrees of approval and disapproval. By the moral sense, Fordyce explained, we are led to approve a certain Order and Oeconomy of Affections." (96) Hutcheson described this natural order in more detail. He identified two kinds of desires, calm and turbulent, and described their operation in two different spheres, public and private. The moral sense, he explained, ordered this confused fabric because
we more approve the calm stable resolute purposes of heart, than the turbulent and passionate. And that, of affections in this respect alike, we more approve those which are more extensive [public], and less approve those which are more confined [private]. Thus, the stable conjugal and parental love, or the resolute calm purpose of promoting the true happiness of persons thus related to us, is preferable to the turbulent passionate dispositions of tenderness. And the love of a society, a country, is more excellent than domestick affections.... That disposition therefore which is most excellent, and naturally gains the highest moral approbation, is the calm, stable, universal good-will to all, or the most extensive benevolence. (97)
Alison similarly maintained that "calm and steadfast [desires] are more excellent than the passionate, and the most extensive are the most excellent." (98)
In arguing that the moral sense gave its highest approbation to the desire for the most extensive benevolence," (99) these moral-sense theorists suggested, contra Locke, that goods were naturally commensurable and that proper perception of such goods naturally determined the will. They thus maintained that naturally benevolent desires, upon receiving the moral sense's highest approval, motivated individuals to pursue the greatest good. Hutcheson called such good "the greatest Happiness for the greatest Numbers" (100) and Fordyce termed it "the greatest Sum or Aggregate of public Good." (101)
In suggesting that goods were naturally commensurable and that proper perception provided a natural motivation, however, these writers understood "natural" to mean "proper" not "ordinary" or "usual." Desire for the greatest flood naturally motivated individuals, they held, when their benevolent or social affections functioned properly, as they ought to function or were designed to function by nature, not necessarily as they ordinarily or always functioned. This proper functioning of the affections required cultivation, (102) or what Hutcheson called the "condition our nature can be raised to by due culture." (103) As he explained, although there is "a natural and immediate determination to approve certain affections, and actions consequent upon them; or a natural sense of immediate excellence in them, it
must be obvious we are not speaking here of the ordinary condition of mankind, as if these calm determinations were generally exercised, and habitually controlled the particular passions; but of the condition our nature can be raised to by due culture; and of the principles which may and ought to operate, when by attention we present to our minds the objects or representations fit to excite them. (104)
In this context of cultivating social affection, the moral-sense writers emphatically linked culture and religion. Religion helped "raise the condition of human nature by due culture," they maintained, because religious objects and representations were fit to cultivate or excite the social affections. Religion, Fordyce explained, "respects the Deity, and arises also from the Public Affections." (105) Fordyce particularly envisioned a religion of the "outward organs" or sense experience. Referring to "the Bulk of Mankind," he argued that the "Operation of their Minds, such especially as are employed on the most sublime, immaterial Objects, must be assisted by their outward Organs, or by some Help from the Imagination." Thus religion "must be expressed and delineated as it were, by sensible marks and images." Fordyce's rationale in emphasizing a religion of sense experience was social. Such a religion properly inflamed the social affections: "This holds true in an high Degree in the case of PUBLIC Worship, where the Presence of our Fellow-creatures, and the powerful Contagion of the social Affections conspire to kindle and spread the devout Flame with greater Warmth and Energy." (106)
Hutcheson similarly emphasized the cultural role of religion as an occasion for the "contagion" of social affections. Referring to external worship," he explained:
The obvious reasons for it are these; the exercise and expression of all sentiments and affections makes their impressions deeper, and strengthens them in the soul. Again; gratitude, love and esteem, are affections which decline concealment when they are lively; ... our worshiping in society, our recounting thankfully God's benefits, our explaining his nature and perfections, our expressing our admiration, esteem, gratitude, and love, presents to the minds of others the proper motives of like affections; and by a contagion, observable in all our passions, naturally tends to raise them in others. Piety thus diffused in a society, is the strongest restraint from evil; and adds new force to every social disposition. (107)
The moral-sense writers combined the diffusion of piety in society with secular government and protection for individual rights in religion, or religious diversity. They specifically grounded such individual protection in social-contract theory. Hutcheson explained that theory as a three-stage process:
Civil power is most naturally founded by three different acts of a whole people. 1. An agreement or contract of each one with all the rest, that they will unite into one society or body, to be governed in all their common interests by one council. 2. A degree or designation, made by the whole people, of the form or plan of power, and of the persons to be intrusted with it. 3. A mutual agreement or contract between the governors thus constituted and the people. (108)
Because social-contract theory required the alienation of certain alienable powers, Hutcheson emphasized those individual powers or rights that were inalienable. Among these was the individual's right of religion, which precluded the use of legal penalties:
Every rational creature has a right to judge for it self in these matters: and ... this right is plainly unalienable: it cannot be matter of contract; nor can there be any right of compulsions as to matters of opinion, conveyed to or vested in any magistrate. He can have no right to extort men's sentiments, or to inflict penalties upon their not agreeing to the opinions he thinks just; as such penalties are no evidences to convince the judgment, and can only produce hypocrisy; and are monstrous usurpations on the most sacred rights of all rational beings. (109)
Hutcheson based his argument on "the natural Equality of Men" and in discussing the" natural rights inherent therein he listed, as the first three, the right to life, liberty, and happiness. (110)
Alison similarly combined social-contract theory and individual rights in religion with the social diffusion of piety, in his teaching at Philadelphia on the eve of the American Revolution Among his student's who would enjoy prominence in the Revolution were Charles Thomson, secretary of the Continental Congress Thomas McKean, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Hugh Williamson, member of the Constitutional Convention. (111) To these and other students. Alison described the three-stage process of contractual government (112) and emphasized inalienable religious rights. (113) He particularly explained that "No good Subject should meet with any Vexation, or be excluded from any civil Right on Account of any opinions or Modes of Worship. (114) Alison also defended such rights in the Pennsylvania Journal in 1768, attributing "the bitter root of persecution and intolerance" to the "love of religious establishments" and suggesting that "every denomination must maintain their own clergy." (115) Along with secular government and individual rights, Alison emphasized the social and cultural importance of religion. He taught that
God is to be worshipped not in Secret, but in Publick; which also tends to increase our Devotion, and to raise like Sentiments in others. Social Worship is of great Advantage; it maintains and increases our Love to the supreme Being. It excites us to a faithful Discharge of every Duty. (116)
North of Philadelphia, similar ideas found favor among the revolutionary generation in Massachusetts because of the influence of Fordyce's Elements in the Harvard curriculum after mid-century. Such influence was evident in Samuel West's On the Right to Rebel Against Governors (116). West was a highly respected intellectual of his generation. He served in the Massachusetts constitutional convention of 1780, was invited to serve in the national constitutional convention of 1787, and served in the Massachusetts ratifying convention of 1788. His revolutionary war message of '76 was clear: "It is an indispensable duty, my brethren which we owe to God and our country, to rouse up and bestir ourselves, and, being animated with a noble zeal for the sacred cause of liberty, to defend our lives and fortunes, even to the shedding the last drop of blood. We must," he continued, "beat our ploughshares into swords, and our pruning-hooks into ,spears, and learn the art of self-defence against our enemies." (117)
In Right to Rebel, West also expressed the fundamental principles of moral-sense theory to his revolutionary audience. As he explained,
that we may be the more firmly engaged to promote each other's welfare, the Deity has endowed us with tender and social affections, with generous and benevolent principles. ... The Deity has also invested us with moral powers and faculties, by which we are enabled to discern the difference between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, good and evil: hence the approbation of mind that arises upon doing a good action, and the remorse of conscience which we experience when we counteract the moral sense and do that which is evil. (118)
As had all the other writers, West viewed the culture of moral sense as functioning in tandem with religion to foster social dispositions. " [N]othing tends like religion," he explained, "to make men good members of the commonwealth. (119)
Moral-sense writers shared many commitments with other enlightened thinkers. With Locke, Livingston, and Adams, Hutcheson, Fordyee and Alison shared a commitment to secular government, and the protection of diversity and individual rights from the coercive power of the state. They also shared an awareness of, and desire to avoid, the sectarian strife of earlier generations. To this end, they emphasized the sociable nature of moral-sense virtue. As a contemporary described such virtue, it is "without any thing of that sourness, stiffness, or unsociableness which sometimes accompanies it, and renders characters, otherwise valuable, in some respects disagreeable." (120) Finally, moral-sense writers shared with many contemporaries an emphasis on the social importance of religion, viewing religion as playing a constructive role in the cultural formation of virtue.
Although sharing such commitments with enlightened contemporaries, moral-sense writers developed a distinct stream of enlightened thought that flowed into the culture and politics of early America, including the revolutionary era. Rather than rely on "cultural reputation to supply the ordering principle the incommensurable self purportedly lacked on its own, moral-sense writers emphasized a common moral faculty capable of rendering the various desires of the self commensurable. They denied that diversity, toleration, and secular government required a philosophical commitment to incommenurability or to the abolition of natural standards of virtue. Far from enhancing coercive state power, they suggested that the common moral sense fostered an independent civil culture because it relied on a reasoned discourse concerning the natural foundation of virtue, not legal penalty. Social affections, they insisted, were natural and thus could be cultivated by a reasoned culture informed by religion.
CULTURE, RELIGION, AND THE ENLIGHTENED TRADITION
Three-and-one-half centuries after Hobbes's Leviathan, political and philosophical thinkers today remain focused on the sue of incommensurability. Many current authors, in fact, make the incommensurability of diverse conceptions of good an important foundation of their philosophical thought. (121) The pragmatist Richard Rorty, for example, contends that "there is no actual or possible object of knowledge that would permit you to commensurate and "rank all human needs." (122) The liberal William Galston similarly maintains that "the moral universe we happen to inhabit contains a multiplicity of valid principles and valuable goods that cannot be definitely ranked-ordered, cannot be reduced to a common measure of value." (123)
The main difference between Hobbes and many current writers is their conflicting responses to incommensurability. Hobbes sought to use the coercive power of the state to organize the incommensurable pursuits of human nature, viewing religion as an instrument of state-imposed order. In contrast, many current writers suggest widening individual autonomy and restricting religion in public (124) so-individuals can pursue their various, and varying, conceptions of good relatively unfettered. (125) As two recent authors explain, the "heightened stress on individual autonomy [is] at odds with the emphasis in most classical religious traditions on the individual's embeddedness in society." (126)
The modern tradition of enlightened thought, both at its inception and for many generations thereafter, embodied an intermediate or moderate position between state authority and individual autonomy. That thought thus represents an intermediate or moderate position between state establishments of religion and the separation of church and state, as that concept is understood in cultural and not just institutional terms today.
Unfortunately, the moderate nature of the enlightened thought informing early American culture and politics is difficult to recognize through the lens of current cultural and academic discourge. That discourse too often narrows intellectual and policy options by framing issues in dichotomous or exclusive terms. This narrowing reflects the sense of a two-sided "cultural war" and the adversarial positions of constitutional litigation, (127) attitudes which reveal and shape the conceptual parameters of much of current thought. Consider, for example, the above quote juxtaposing individual autonomy and classical religious tradition, suggesting a choice between individualism and social embeddedness. This choice is a culturally created dichotomy, not the inevitable product of secular enlightened reflection or of American constitutionalism. The various streams of enlightened thought flowing into early America certainly emphasized individual rights and individual protections against state coercion. Yet this modern enlightened thought simultaneously understood the rights-bearing individual to be embedded in society and culture. Locke and Adams emphasized the individual's intrinsic awareness of reputation as a basis for forming self and society; Hutcheson and Alison emphasized the natural fellowship of the social affections. These writers viewed individual rights as compatible with the social embeddedness of individual character.
Even much of the current discourse concerning the Enlightenment itself obscures such compatibility. Alasdair MacIntyre characterizes the period of the Enlightenment as "when man is thought of as an individual prior to and apart from all [social] roles." (128) Michael Warner similarly maintains that "the cultural meaning" of the Enlightenment is "civic and emancipatory." (129) These historical assessments reflect what John T. Noonan calls "our age's habit of hazy reference to 'the Enlightenment." (130) They are historical caricatures. Such assessments highlight the importance of individual rights in enlightened through, but in an exaggerated manner that distorts the relationship between those rights and the features of their social context and development. As a result, they suggest that the cultural primacy of emancipation from social roles and of individual autonomy is the inevitable product of enlightened secular reflection or the natural consequence of American constitutionalism. Yet these suggestions are themselves recent cultural creations, and the enlightened sources informing early American culture and politics indicate a much richer and nuanced tradition of modern, secular, enlightened reflection on the individual and society.
(1.) Paul Hazard, La Crise de la Conscience Europeenne (Paris: Boivin, 1935), trans. The European Mind, 1680-1715 (New York: Meridian, 1963).
(2.) Alan Charles Kors and Paul Korshin, eds., Anticipations of the Enlightenment in England, France, and Germany (Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987); Michael P. Winship, Seers of God: Puritan Providentialism in the Restoration and Early Enlightenment (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996); John Corrigan, The Prism of Piety: Catholick Congregational Clergy at the Beginning of the Enlightenment (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); Henry. F. May, The Enlightenment in America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976), 1-101; Ned C. Landsman, From Colonials to Provincials: American Thought and Culture, 1680-1760 (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1997).
(3.) Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill (1651), in Leviathan, ed. Richard Tuck (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), part I, chap. XV, 110.
(4.) John Humfrey, A Proposition for the Safety and Happiness of the King and Kingdom both in Church and State, and prevention of the Common Enemy (1667), 27.
(5.) John Locke, Two Tracts on Government (1660-1662), in Locke: Political Essays, ed. Mark Goldie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 40-41; Locke, A Letter concerning Toleration (London, 1689), ed., James H. Tully (Indianapolis, Ind.: Hacker Publishing, 1983), 33. Robert Kraynak, "John Locke: From Absolutism to Toleration," American Political Science Review 74 (Marcia 1980): 53, for Locke, "religious sectarian warfare is the fundamental problem of politics."
(6.) John Rawls, "Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical," Philosophy and Public Affairs 14 (Summer 1985): 225: "The social and historical conditions of [the modern] state have their origins in the Wars of Religion following the Reformation and the subsequent development of the principle of toleration."
(7.) Apart from well-known founding fathers, consider Jonathan Dickinson, Remarks Upon a Pamphlet, Entitled, A Letter to a Friend (Philadelphia, 1735), 29-30, quoting from "the acute and ingenious Mr. Lock, in his Letter concerning Toleration"; Josiah Smith, The Divine Right of Private Judgment Vindicated, in Answer to the Reverend Mr. Hugh Fisher's Postscript (Boston, 1730), 10, referring to "the great and celebrated Lock"; Elisha Williams, The Essential Rights and Liberties of Protestants. A Seasonable Plea for The Liberty of Conscience and The Right of Private Judgment (Boston, 1744) in Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730-1805, ed. Ellis Sandoz (Indianapolis, Ind.: Liberty Fund, 1991), 59-60, paraphrasing "Mr. Lock in his Treatise of Government" to explain that in forming civil society "no more natural liberty or power is given up than is necessary for the preservation of person and property."
(8.) Jerrold Seigel, The Idea of the Self: Thought and Experience in Western Europe Since the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 109: "'Locke has a better claim to having instituted the modern history of thinking about selfhood than any of his predecessors."
(9.) John Locke, An Essay concerning Human Understanding, ed. Peter H. Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979), 341 (II.xxvii.17).
(10.) Ibid., 346-47 (II.xxvii.26)
(11.) Ibid., 259 (II.xxi.42). Also see 229 (II.xx.1-2): "Thought, or Perception of the Mind ... is accompanied also with Pleasure or Pain, Delight or Trouble, call it how you please. These like other simple Ideas cannot be described, nor their Names defined; the way of knowing them is, as of the simple Ideas of the Sense, only by Experience. For to define them by the Presence of Good or Evil, is no otherwise to make them known to us, than by making us reflect on what we feel in our selves.... Things then are Good or Evil, only in reference to Pleasure or Pain."
(12.) Ibid., 269-70 (II.xxi.55).
(13.) Ibid.,261 (II.xxi.44).
(14.) Ibid., 252-53 (II.xxi.35). Also see 260 (II.xxi.44): "the greater visible good does not always raise Men's desires in proportion to the greatness, it appears, and is acknowledged to have."
(15.) Ibid., 273 (II.xxi.60); 276 (II.xxi.63). Also consider 255 (II.xxi.38): "Were the will determin'd by the views of good, as it appears in Contemplation greater or less to the understanding, which is the State of all absent good, and that, which in the received Opinion the will is supposed to move to, and to be moved by, I do not see how it could ever get loose from the infinite eternal Joys of Heaven." Since the will was often so "loose" from such contemplative joy, Locke reasoned, mere contemplation of good must not provide a sufficient motive to action, 252 (II.xxi.34): "For I think we may conclude, that, if the bare contemplation of these good ends, to which we are carried by several uneasinesses, had been sufficient to determine the will, and set us on work, we should have had none of these natural pains, and perhaps in this World, little or no pain at all."
(16.) Thomas L. Pangle, The Spirit of Modern Republicanism: The Moral Vision of the American Founders and the Philosophy of Locke (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 264: Lockean agents are "endowed by nature with no clear order or hierarchy of inclinations"; Stephen Darwall, The British Moralists and The Internal "Ought": 1640-1740 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 201-02: Lockean agents "make value judgments in purely hedonistic terms, recognizing no goods as intrinsically higher or lower"; Peter Augustine Lawler, "Religion, Philosophy, and the American Founding," in Protestantism and the American Founding, eds., Thomas S. Engeman and Michael P. Zuckert (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004), 180-81, suggesting that "this allegedly self-constituting individual lacks the resources to constitute himself. His liberated will is insufficiently directed."
(17.) J.B. Schneewind, The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy (Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 300: "no positive ordering principle seems available for the Lockean inner world."
(18.) Locke, Essay, 264 (II.xxi.48). The analysis in the text implies the priority of right over duty in Locke's thought. Some historians disagree. Steven M. Dworetz, The Unvarnished Doctrine: Locke, Liberalism, and the American Revolution (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1990), 176: For Locke, "duties to God are first; and they authorize all rights"; Richard Aschraft, Locke's Two Treatises of Government (Boston, Mass.: Allen & Unwin, 1987), 135: "Lockean natural rights are always the active fulfillment of duties to God"; John Dunn, The Political Thought of John Locke: An Historical Account of the Argument of the "Two Treatises of Government" (Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 218: Locke "defines human life [as] a set of duties and a right to promote happiness in any way compatible with these duties." However, other scholars emphasize the priority of right. Jerome Huyler, Locke in America: The Moral Philosophy of the Founding Era (Lawrence, Kans.: University of Kansas Press, 1995), 91-93, 339: "My complaint is that all the recent commentators have gone too far in stressing the moral duties"; Zuckert, Natural Rights and the New Republicanism, 272, in Locke's thought "rights are not derivative from the natural law, but somehow independent of it"; Pangle, Spirit of Modern Republicanisn, 131-279; Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History, reprint ed. (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1965), 226-27: "The desire for happiness and the pursuit of happiness to which it gives rise are not duties.... [They] have the character of an absolute right, of a natural right. There is, then, an innate natural right, while there is no innate natural duty."
(19.) Peter Laslett, ed., Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 84, referring to Locke's epistemology as "the most effective solvent of the natural-law attitude."
(20.) Locke, Essay, 268 (II.xxi.53): "We should take pains to suit the relish of our Minds to the true intrinsick good or ill, that is in things."
(21.) Ibid., 262 (II.xxi.46). Similarly, 253 (II.xxi.35): "the greater good ... does not determine the will, until our desire [is] raised proportionably to it."
(22.) Ibid., 268 (II.xxi.53): Liberty required "the forbearance of a too hasty compliance with our desires, the moderation and restraint of our Passions, so that our Understanding may be free to examine, and reason unbiased give its judgment."
(23.) Ibid., 280 (II.xxi.69).
(25.) Ibid., 281 (II.xxi.69).
(26.) Nathan Tarcov, Locke's Education for Liberty (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 92: "Locke is surely in the peculiar position here ... of simultaneously siding with reason against custom and advocating the use of custom rather than reason to teach the qualities that Locke's own reason favors and the world's custom rejects." Tarcov obfuscates the issue by exaggerating its complexity. It is not that "peculiar" or complex for one to understand the importance of cultural customs and habits for the formation of individual and social character, and yet criticize how some particular customs and habits have developed over time.
(27.) Locke, Essay, 352 (II.xxviii.6-7).
(28.) Ibid., 352 (II.xxviii.9).
(29.) Locke, Letter, 43, denying that the magistrate is "permitted to introduce any thing into Religion, by the means of Laws and Penalties."
(30.) Locke, Essay, 353-54 (II.xxviii.10).
(31.) Ibid., 356-57 (II.xxviii.12). Also see John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693) in Some Thoughts Concerning Education and Of the Conduct of the Understanding, eds. Ruth W. Grant and Nathan Tarcov (Indianapolis, Ind.: Hackett Publishing, 1996), 36 ([section] 56): "Esteem and disgrace are, of all others, the most powerful incentives to the mind, when once it is brought to relish them."
(32.) Seigel, Idea of the Self, 106, explaining how "in the Essay it is nearly always possible to take the individual concern for happiness to mean a concern about how society or God may reward or punish particular actions." Seigel also draws on Locke's Second Treatise of Government to emphasize the "pre-social self" and argue that "social constitution is not the whole story of the self." Yet even in this context, Seigel concludes: "The responsibility for its actions that will make the self accountable to human and divine authority once religion and society supplant nature as the chief reference points for individual action already defines the relations between the self and others in the pre-social state" (p. 107). Interestingly, but less convincingly, Seigel further maintains that the link Locke "posited between personal identity and responsibility" was grounded less in actual social relations than in the imaginary society "that constituted the early modern 'republic of letters'" (p. 108-09).
(33.) Locke, Essay, 357 (II.xxviii.12): "and so they do that, which keeps them in Reputation with their Company, [with] little regard [to] the Laws of God, or the Magistrate"; 69 (I.iii.6): "Moral Rules, may receive, from Mankind, a very general Approbation, without either knowing, or admitting the true ground of Morality; which can only be the Will and Law of God."
(34.) Ibid., 354 (II.xxviii.11): "that passes for Vice is one Country, which is counted a Vertue, or at least not Vice, in another."
(35.) Ibid., 356 (II.xxviii.11).
(36.) Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 38 ([section] 61): "Concerning reputation, I shall only remark this one thing more of it: that though it be not the true principle and measure of virtue (for that is the knowledge of a man's duty and the satisfaction it is to obey his Maker in following the dictates of that light God has given him with the hopes of acceptation and reward), yet it is that which comes nearest to it; ... being the testimony and applause that other people's reason, as it were by common consent, gives to virtuous and well-ordered actions."
(37.) Locke, Letter, 26.
(38.) Gordon J. Schochet, "John Locke and Religious Toleration," in The Revolution of 1688-1689: Changing Perspectives, ed. Lois G. Schwoerer (Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 148.
(39.) Locke, Letter, 43, 53, 27. Also on 27: "the Magistrate's Power extends not to the establishing of any Articles of Faith, or Forms of Worship, by the force of his Laws"; "it is only Light and Evidence that can work a change in Mens Opinions; which Light can in no manner proceed from corporal Sufferings, or any other outward Penalties."
(40.) Charles H. Monson, Jr., "Locke's Political Theory and Its Interpreters," in Locke and Berkeley: A Collection of Critical Essays (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968), 195ff, noting "inconsistencies" in Locke's thought.
(41.) David Lundberg and Henry May, "The Enlightened Reader in America," American Quarterly 28 (Summer 1976): 273.
(42.) The College of New Jersey, Trustee Minutes, 7 May 1755, Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University: "A Catalogue of Books" donated by Governor Jonathan Belcher to the library of the College of New Jersey included "Cicero's Works," "Dodridge on Religion," and "Locks Works: 2 Vol." For statistics on Locke's Works, see Lundberg and May, "Enlightened Reader," 273.
(43.) College of Rhode Island, Trustee Minutes, 3 September 1783, John Hay Library, Brown University: "The following are the classics appointed for the first year, in Latin, Virgil, Cicero's Orations, and Horace.... In Greek, the New Testament, Lucian's Dialogues.... In the second year, in Latin, Cicero de Oratore and Caesar's Commentaries.... In Greek, Homer's Illiad.... For the third year, Hutchinson's Moral Philosophy, Dodridge's Lectures.... In the last year, Locke on the Understanding."
(44.) Pangle, Spirit of Modern Republicanism, 28-34; Zuckert, Natural Rights and the New Republicanism, 297-319; Huyler, Locke in America, 210-27. Dworetz, Unvarnished Doctrine, 104-09, links "Cato" with Hobbes's philosophy. Also see Ronald Hamowy, "Cato's Letters, John Locke and the Republican Paradigm," History of Political Thought 11 (Summer 1990): 273-94.
(45.) John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, Cato's Letters: Or, Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious, And other Important Subjects (1720-23), 4 vols., ed. Ronald Hamowry (Indianapolis, Ind.: Liberty Fund, 1995), 2: 290-91, Let. 42. All references to Cato's Letters will refer to the pagination of Hamowry's edition.
(46.) John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, The Independent Whig (Philadelphia, 1724), 15, 20.
(47.) Particularly see New York Weekly Journal, 4 February and 10 December 1733.
(48.) Michael Warner, The Letters of the Republic: Publication and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990), 49ff; Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press), 43; Milton M. Klein's "Introduction" to William Livingston, William Smith, Jr., William Morin Scott, Independent Reflector or Weekly Essays on Sundry Important Subjects More particularly adapted to the Province of New York, ed. Milton M. Klein (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1963), 21-22. All references to the Independent Reflector will refer to the pagination of Klein's edition.
(49.) John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 19 April 1817, in The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams, 2nd ed., ed. Lester J. Cappon, (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1987), 510, referring to "a new Edition of "The Independent Whig'" printed in Connecticut.
(50.) New York Gazette, 19 February 1753.
(51.) Jon Butler, Becoming America: The Revolution Before 1776 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000), 8-49, noting on p. 49 how "No other Old or New World society knew such remarkable mixtures of peoples."
(52.) Benjamin H. Newcomb, Political Partisanship in the American Middle Colonies, 1700-1776 (Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University Press, 1995); Allan Tully, Forming American Politics: Ideals, Interests, and Institutions in Colonial New York and Pennsylvania (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994); Edward Countryanan, A People in Revolution: The American Revolution and Political Society in New York, 1760-1790 (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981); John Webb Pratt, Religion, Politics, and Diversity: The Church-State Theme in New York History (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1967); Bernard Bailyn, The Origins of American Politics (New York: Knopf, 1968).
(53.) Livingston, Independent Reflector, 330, Number XXXIX.
(54.) Ibid., 112-13, Number IX.
(55.) Ibid., 309, 311, Number XXXVI.
(56.) Ibid., 180, Number XVIII; 220, Number XXIII.
(57.) For information on the circulation and popularity of the Reflector, see Klein, "Introduction," 46.
(58.) Adams was also the first vice-president of the United States, under George Washington in the early 1790s, and the second president from 1797-1801.
(59.) Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1969), 568: Wood further commenting, "As much as any of the Revolutionaries Adams represented the political side of the American Enlightenment. At the outset of the constitution-making period his pamphlet, Thoughts on Government, became the most influential work guiding the framers of the new republics; and in the late 1770s, he took an important hand in drafting the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, widely regarded as the most consequential state constitution of the Revolutionary era."
(60.) John Witte, Jr., "One Public Religion, Many Private Religions: John Adams and the 1780 Massachusetts Constitution," in The Founders on God and Government, eds., Daniel L. Dreisbach, Mark D. Hall, and Jeffry H. Morrison (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), 25.
(61.) John Adams, "The Report of a Constitution, or Form of Government, for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts" (1779), in The Works of John Adams, 10 vols., ed. Charles Francis Adams (Boston, Mass.: Little and Brown, 1850-1856), 4: 221. As the state's public considered the Massachusetts Constitution for ratification in the spring of 1780, Adams confirmed the importance of protections for religious diversity: "our honest and pious Attention to the unalienable Rights of Conscience is our best and most refined Policy." See John Adams to Isaac Smith, St., 16 May 1780, quoted in Robert J. Taylor, Construction of the Massachusetts Constitution (Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1980), 333-34.
(62.) For Adams's support, but not authorship, of Article III, see John Adams to William D. Williamson, 25 February 1812, in "Report," in Works" 4, n. 222.
(63.) Adams, "Report," in Works, 4: 221.
(64.) Ibid., 4: 221-22: "the legislature hath, therefore, a right, and ought to provide, at the expense of the subject, if necessary, a suitable support for the public worship of GOD, and of the teachers of religion and morals"; "All moneys paid by the subject to the support of public worship, and of the instructors in religion and morals, shall, if he require it, be uniformly applied to the support of the teacher or teachers of his own religious denomination, if there be such whose ministry he attends upon; otherwise it may be paid to the teacher or teachers of the parish or precinct where he usually resides."
(65.) John Witte, Jr., "A Most Mild and Equitable Establishment of Religion': John Adams and the Massachusetts Experiment," in Religion and the New Republic: Faith in the Founding of America, ed. James H. Hutson (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), 14, explaining how under the final version of Article III the "'tithe collection system was now to be local and 'voluntary" rather than statewide--allowing Boston and, later, other townships to forgo mandatory tithing.... Religious societies could now contract individually with their own ministers--presumably allowing them to pay their tithes directly to their chosen minister rather than to a potentially capricious town treasurer." Also see Samuel Eliot Morrison, "The Struggle over the Adoption of the Constitution of Massachusetts, 1780," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 50 (1916-17): 353-412.
(66.) For the revised Article III, see Adams, "Report," in Works, 4: 221-22: "As the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of a civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community, but by the institution of the public worship of God, and of public instruction in piety, religion, and morality,--therefore to promote their happiness, and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require ... the several Towns, Parishes, precincts and other bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own Expence for the institution and the Public worship of GOD, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality, in all causes which provision shall not be made Voluntarily."
(67.) Isaac Backus, An Appeal to the People of the Massachusetts State, Against Arbitrary Power (Boston, 1780), 4: "The third article," Backus objected, "asserts a right in the people of this State, to make and execute laws about the worship of God; directly contrary to the truth, which assures us that we have but ONE LAWGIVER in such affairs. Isaiah 33.22, James 4.12"; "'So that good and happiness are the fine names under which you are urged to receive instruction, 'in piety, religion and morality,' without any regard ... to our only Mediator ... 2 Cor. 11.2." For secondary discussion, see William G. McLoughlin, New England Dissent, 1630-1833: The Baptists and the Separation of Church and State, 2 vols. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971), 1: 491-511.
(68.) Witte, ""A Most Mild and Equitable Establishment of Religion,'" 18.
(69.) For the controversy surrounding Article III, see Taylor, Construction of the Massachusetts Constitution, 331ff. For evidence that a majority of Massachusetts townships supported Article III, see Oscar and Mary Handlin, eds., The Popular Sources of Political Authority: Documents on the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966), 475ff. For evidence that almost two-thirds of individual voters supported the Article, see Robert J. Taylor, ed., Massachusetts, Colony to Commonwealth: Documents' on the Formation of Its Constitution (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1961), 113; Ronald M. Peters, Jr., The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780: A Social Compact (Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts Press, 1978), 21-23.
(70.) John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America (1786-87), in Works, 4: 296-98.
(71.) John Adams, Discourses on Davila (1791), in Works, 6: 231. Similarly, see Adams, Defence in ibid., 4: 299-300, critically quoting from a letter by the Frenchman "M. Turgot" which expressed the latter's dissatisfaction "'with the constitutions which have hitherto been formed for the different state of America.' He [Turgot] observes "that by most of them the customs of England are imitated, without any particular motive. Instead of collecting all authority into once center, that of the nation, they have established different bodies, a body of representatives, a council, and a governor."
(72.) Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick, The Age of Federalism: The Early American Republic, 1788-1800 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 536, 237.
(73.) Robert A. Ferguson, The American Enlightenment, 1750-1820 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997), 118.
(74.) Wood, Creation of the American Republic, 569-74; Elkins and McKitrick, Age of Federalism, 534, 861, note 4, for the historical debate about the scholarly attempts to construct a periodization scheme for Adams's thought.
(75.) John Adams, Discourses on Davila (1791), in Works', 6: 234. The full quote reads as follows: "There is in human nature, it is true, simple Benevolence, or an affection for the good of others; but alone it is not a balance for the selfish affections. Nature then has kindly added to benevolence, the desire of reputation, in order to make us good members of society."
(76.) Ibid., 6: 232-33. Also see p. 234: "A regard to the sentiments of mankind concerning him, and to their dispositions towards him, every man feels within himself; and if he has reflected, and tried experiments, he has found, that no exertion of his reason, no effort of his will, can wholly divest him of it. In proportion to our affection for the notice of others is our aversion to their neglect; the stronger the desire of the esteem of the public, the more powerful the aversion to their disapprobation."
(77.) Ibid., 6: 234-35.
(78.) Ibid., 6: 238: The full quote reads as follows: "This desire of the consideration of our fellow-men, and their congratulations in our joys, is not less invincible than the desire of their sympathy in our sorrows. It is a determination of our nature, that lies at the foundation of our whole moral system in this world."
(79.) Ibid., 6: 246, 244.
(80.) Ibid., 6: 242.
(81.) John Adams to Zabdiel Adams, 21 June 1776, in Works, 9: 401.
(82.) John Adams to Benjamin Rush, 28 August 1811, in ibid., 9: 635-36.
(83.) John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 19 April 1817, in Adams-Jefferson Letters, 509.
(84.) The Third Earl of Shaftesbury to Michael Ainsworth, 3 June 1709, in Several Letters written by a Noble Lord to a Young Man at the University (London, 1716), 39, Let. 8.
(85.) Paul B. Wood, The Aberdeen Enlightenment: The Arts Curriculum in the Eighteenth Century (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1993), 50-55.
(86.) Some interpreters suggest a cognitive and realist dimension in Hutcheson's thought. In particular, Knud Haakonssen, Natural Law and Moral Philosophy: From Grotius to the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 72-73, quotes from Hutcheson, Inquiry, 4th ed. (1738), 129-31: "The admired Quality is conceived as the Perfection of the Agent, and such a one as is distinct from the Pleasure either in the Agent or the Approver; tho' 'tis a sure Source of Pleasure to the Agent. The Perception of the Approver, tho' attended with Pleasure, plainly represents something quite distinct from this Pleasure." From this, Haakonssen argues that for Hutcheson "Moral perception is not a subjective affective experience," that the "objects of such judgments are in fact real objects" or real objective "features of human nature." Yet Hutcheson seemed more concerned in this passage to affirm that moral perception is not a subjective affective experience of pleasure than to affirm that such perception is not a subjective experience per se. Similar to Haakonssen is James Moore, "The Two Systems of Francis Hutcheson: On the Origins of the Scottish Enlightenment," in Studies in the Philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment, ed. M. A. Stewart (Oxford, Mass.: Clarendon Press, 1990), 49-50: According to Hutcheson, "our approval of a virtuous character, one in which the kind affections, compassion, desire for the good of others, is manifest, is not a relational judgment that this character is in accordance with a law or rule imposed upon him and others; it is rather an immediate apprehension of the qualities of his character attended by an idea of virtue. Thus the ideas of beauty and virtue were real ideas: but not ideas of sensation or reflection, or modes compounded of simple ideas, as Pufendorf and Locke would have had us understand." In contrast, consider Schneewind, Invention of Autonomy, 339-40, n. 18, arguing that "relations can be empirically ascertainable. Hutcheson does indeed argue that morality is not constituted by a (nonobservable?) relation to divine law. He thinks its origin is in the empirically observable relation between the feeling of approval and the motive of benevolence. Seeing benevolence, which is objectively real and which is virtuous because we feel approval towards it, is not the same as seeing an objective quality of virtuousness that belongs to benevolence regardless of our response to it." For further consideration of this question, see David F. Norton, "Hutcheson's Moral Realism," Journal of the History of Philosophy 23 (1985): 392-418; Kenneth P. Winkler, "Hutcheson's Alleged Moral Realism," Journal of the History of Philosophy 23 (1985): 179-94.
(87.) Recent literature on the influence of Scottish thought in eighteenth-century America include Samuel Fleischacker, "The Impact on America: Scottish Philosophy and the American Founding," in The Cambridge Companion to the Scottish Enlightenment, ed. Alexander Broadie (Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 316-37; Donald S. Lutz, A Preface to American Political Theory (Lawrence, Kans.: University Press of Kansas, 1992), 124-27; Richard B. Sher and Jeffrey R. Smitten, eds., Scotland and America in the Age of the Enlightenment (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1990); Daniel Walker Howe, "Why the Scottish Enlightenment was Useful to the Framers of the American Constitution," Comparative Studies in Society and History 31 (1989): 572-87; Roy Branson, "James Madison and the Scottish Enlightenment," Journal of the History of Ideas 40 (1979): 235-50; May, The Enlightenment in America, 307-62.
(88.) For the inclusion of Hutcheson's System in college curricula, see The College of New York, Trustee Minutes, March 1763, Lowe Library, Columbia University; The College of Rhode Island, Trustee Minutes, September 1783, John Hay Library, Brown University.
(89.) "Records of the Corporation of Harvard College," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. 31 (Boston, Mass.: The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1935): 347; Norman Fiering, Moral Philosophy at Seventeenth-Century Harvard: A Discipline in Transition (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1981), 51, explaining how Fordyce's philosophy "was dominant at Harvard in the last half of the eighteenth century"; David W. Robson, Educating Republicans: The College in the Era of the American Revolution, 1750-1800 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1985), 16-17, 82.
(90.) Francis Hutcheson, A System of Moral Philosophy, 2 vols. (London, 1755), vol. 1, 38 (I.3.i).
(91.) Ibid, 1:74 (I.4.xii): "Without a distinct consideration of this moral faculty, a species endued with such a variety of senses, and of desires frequently interfering, must appear a complex confused fabrick, without any order or regular consistent design. By means of it, all is capable of harmony, and all its powers may conspire in one direction, and be consistent with each other."
(92.) Ibid., 1:62 (I.4.vi).
(93.) Ibid., 1:24 (I.2.v)
(94.) Francis Alison, "Moral Philosophy; In Three Books; containing the Elements of Ethics, the Law of Nature, and Oeconomics with Politics," bk. 1, chap. 1, 23. Alison's lectures were recorded by Jasper Yeates in 1759 and are housed at the University of Pennsylvania, Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Van Pelt Library. An identical set of Alison's lectures recorded by William Kinnersley is housed in The University Archives and Records Centers at the University of Pennsylvania.
(95.) David Fordyce, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, in Three Books (London, 1754), bk. 1, sec. II, 32.
(96.) Ibid., bk. 3, sec. II, 251.
(97.) Hutcheson, System, 1:68-69 (I.4.x). Similarly, 1:74 (I.4.xii): "This moral faculty plainly shews that we are also capable of a claim settled universal benevolence, and that this is destined, as the supreme determination of the generous kind, to govern and control our particular generous as well as selfish affections; as the heart must entirely approve its doing thus in its calmest reflections: even as in the order of selfish affections, our self-love, or our calm regard to the greatest private interest controls our particular selfish passions."
(98.) Alison, "Moral Philosophy," bk. 1, chap. 4, 48. For Alison's hierarchy, see bk. 1, chap. 1, 14: "As a deep rooted propensity to promote our own highest Happiness [calm private] will upon due Reflection serve to suppress our particular selfish Gratification opposite to it [turbulent private], so the calm, general, Extensive Benevolence to Mankind [calm public], when duly cultivated by Meditation, will serve to restrain and govern all the other Affections that regard man's own Happiness, or that of a smaller system or Party." Similarly, see Fordyce, Elements, bk. 1, sec. II, 31. In contrast, denying such an ordered hierarchy of desires, see Trenchard and Gordon, Cato's Letters, 2: 275, Let. 39.
(99.) Fordyce, Elements, bk. 1, sec. IV, 94: "[Man] feels the highest Approbation and Moral Complacence in those Affections, and in those Actions which immediately and directly respect the Good of others."
(100.) Francis Hutcheson, An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue; In Two Treatises. I. Concerning Beauty, Order, Harmony, Design. II. Concerning Moral Good and Evil, 2nd ed. (London, 1726), treatise II, sec. III, 177; Alison, "Moral Philosophy," bk. 2, chap. 3, 90: "that Action is best which promotes the Happiness of the greatest Numbers."
(101.) Fordyce, Elements, bk. 1, sec. II, 27-28, "greatest in Quantity as well as Duration.'"
(102.) Ibid., bk. 2, sec. III, chap. V, 172: "it is our Duty ... to cultivate the kind Affections."
(103.) At this point, the difference between the Lockean thought described above and the Scottish thought being considered in the text narrows. Locke viewed culture as disciplining the self because goods were naturally incommensurable. Hutcheson, Fordyce, and Alison viewed culture as properly forming the self to perceive that goods were naturally commensurable. The two views were certainly not synonymous, however, as they reflected different principles and sensibilities and resulted in different cultural and religious practices. Although concerned with different issues, Fleischacker, "The Impact on America," 316, states the point well: "I do not think the distinction between, especially, Locke's political philosophy and the political vision to be found among the Scots is quite as sharp as it has been taken to be."
(104.) Hutcheson, System, 1: 58, 77 (I.4.iv, xii).
(105.) Fordyce, Elements, bk. 2, see. I, 99.
(106.) Ibid., bk. 2, sec. IV, 223-24.
(107.) Hutcheson, System, 1:217-18 (I.10.iv)
(108.) Ibid., 2: 227 (III.5.ii).
(109.) Ibid., 2:311 (III.9.i). See a similar assertion of inalienable religious rights at vol. 1: 295 (II.5.i).
(110.) Ibid., 1:293-94 (II.5.i).
(111.) Douglas Sloan, The Scottish Enlightenment and the American College Ideal (New York: Teachers College Press, 1971), 78-83, 94-95; Landsman, From Colonials to Provincials, 80-81.
(112.) Alison, "Moral Philosophy," bk. 3, chap. 5, 212: "To constitute a State or civil Polity in a regular Manner, these three Deeds are necessary. 1st A Contract of each one with all, that they shall unite into one Society to be governed by the same Council. 2d. And next a Decree or Ordinance of the People concerning the Plan. 3dly. And lastly, another Covenant or Contract between these Governours & the People, binding the Rulers to a Faithful Administration of their Trust, & the People to Obedience."
(113.) Ibid., bk. 3, chap. 8, 243: "no virtuous Man would enter into a social State without having his religious as well as civil Rights secured. It belongs therefore to the Supreme Magistrate, as a Part of his Duty, to maintain to all Men the sacred Right of judging for themselves."
(114.) Ibid., bk. 3, chap. 8, 244.
(115.) Francis Alison, John Dickinson, and George Bryan, The Centinel: Warnings of a Revolution, ed. Elizabeth I. Nybakken (Newark, Del.: University of Delaware Press, 1980), 213-14, "Remonstrant Number III," Pennsylvania Journal, 20 October 1768.
(116.) Alison, "Moral Philosophy," bk. 1, chap. 5, 63.
(117.) Samuel West, On the Right to Rebel Against Governors (Boston, 1776), in American Political Writings during the Founding Era 1760-180.5, 2 vols., eds. Charles S. Hyneman and Donald S. Lutz (Indianapolis, Ind.: Liberty Fund, 1983), 1: 438-39.
(118.) Ibid., 1: 411. Similar sentiments are found on 417, 420, 422, 428, 433.
(119.) Ibid., 1: 432.
(120.) Hutcheson, System, l: xxiv (preface). Hutcheson did not write the preface.
(121.) The notion of the incommensurability of "comprehensive doctrines" informs John Rawls, Political Liberalism: With a New Introduction and "The Reply to Habermas" (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 58-66, 154-58, 173-211.
(122.) Richard Rorty, "Pragmatism as Romantic Polytheism," in The Revival of Pragmatism: New Essays in Social Thought, Law, and Culture, ed. Morris Dickstein (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1998), 23.
(123.) William A. Galston, "Liberal Egalitarian Attitudes toward Ethical Pluralism," in The Many and the One: Religious and Secular Perspectives on Ethical Pluralism in the Modern World, eds. Richard Madsen and Tracy B. Strong (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003), 29.
(124.) By "restricting religion in public," I primarily mean the recent attempts to construct "secular" rules for public discourse. See Will Kymlicka, "Civil Society and Government: A Liberal-Egalitarian Perspective," in Civil Society and Government, eds., Nancy L. Rosenblum and Robert C. Post (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2002), 86, emphasizing "diverse conceptions of the good," and distinguishing between "matters of private faith" and "public reasonableness"; Robert Audi, "The Place of Religious Argument in a Free and Democratic Society," in Law and Religion: A Critical Anthology, ed. Stephen M Feldman (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 81, referring to "religious arguments": "My thesis is that their use should be constrained"; ibid., "The State, The Church, and the Citizen," in Religion and Contemporary Liberalism, ed. Paul J. Weithman (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997), 63, advocating that "churches as such abstain from political action"; ibid., "The Separation of Church and State and the Obligations of Citizenship," Philosophy and Public Affairs 18 (1989): 259-96; Rawls, Political Liberalism, 212-54; Kenneth Strike, "On the Construction of Public Speech: Pluralism and Public Reason," Educational Theory 44 (1994): 1-26.
(125.) For the combination of individual autonomy and restrictions on religion in public, consider the arguments of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. For individual autonomy, see Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), at 852: "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." For religion in public, see Lee v Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992), at 590: "The design of the Constitution is that preservation and transmission of religious beliefs and worship is a responsibility and a choice committed to the private sphere."
(126.) Madsen and Strong, "Introduction: Three Forms of Ethical Pluralism," in Many and the One, 17.
(127.) Frederick Mark Gedicks, The Rhetoric of Church and State: A Critical Analysis of Religion Clause Jurisprudence (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1995), 6-24, arguing that there are "Two Discourses of Church and State" or two "competing discourses ... on the constitutionally proper relationship between church and state" today.
(128.) Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, 2nd ed. (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984), 59.
(129.) Warner, Letters of the Republic, 3.
(130.) John T. Noonan, Jr., The Lustre of Our Country: The American Experience of Religious Freedom (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1998), 85.
CHRISTOPHER S. GRENDA (B.A., Monmouth University; M.A., New Brunswick Theological Seminary; Ph.D., University of Maryland) is assistant professor of history, City University of New York, Bronx, New York. An article has previously appeared in Journal of Church and State. Special interests include religion and politics at the American founding; early modern British (North Atlantic) religion and politics, and enlightenment moral philosophy.
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|Author:||Grenda, Christopher S.|
|Publication:||Journal of Church and State|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2006|
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