George Washington and the Founders’ Religion
George Washington offers a telling entry point to understanding the religious views of America's Revolutionary Era founders, comments Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward J. Larson, who will be discussing his new book, The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789. A fairly conventional Anglican before the American Revolution, Washington resigned as a member of the local church vestry after the war and stopped taking communion. He continued to support religion as a support for civil society and deeply believed in divine providence, but adopted the sort of Unitarian or Deist beliefs common among civic and political leaders of the American enlightenment. He also embraced religious tolerance, particularly for oppressed Catholics and Jews.
Larson's lecture will look at the place of religion at the Constitutional Convention from the eyes of Washington and other prominent founders.
Larson is a historian of science and scientific exploration and the co-author of 17 books, including An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science; Evolution's Workshop: God and Science in the Galapagos Islands; Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory; The Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800; and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Summer of the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion. His articles have appeared in such varied jounrals as Nature, Atlantic Monthly, Time, Scientific American, and American History. A popular public lecturer, Larson has taught at University of Georgia, Pepperdine University, and Stanford Law School and appeared on the History Channel, PBS's Nova and American Experience, C-SPAN, BBC, and The Daily Show. His course on the history of evolution theory is available from The Teaching Company. he has traveled extensively and led educational tours to the Galapagos, the Amazon, and Antarctica.
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