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4 Brief Essays on American History

Isaacson, W. "God of Our Fathers" New York: TIME Magazine, July 5, 2004, Vol. 164 no. 1 pp. 62-63

Jefferson is often seen as perhaps the greatest American president, in terms of his devotion to democratic ideals and his belief in the separation of powers, his authorship of the Declaration of Independence, and while he was a strong religionist, his firm belief in the separation of State and Religion. As Isaacson (62) points out, the Founders of the United States often wrestled with the role religion should or could play within the scope of the federal government.

The article also makes clear that Jefferson differed from the Founding Fathers with a Puritan background, in his belief of a benevolent Creator. This article is important in the current arguments about the role of "God" in our Pledge of Allegiance, on our coins ("In God We Trust") and in the legal decision to remove a judge's Ten Commandments sculpture from an Alabama courthouse.

There is no doubt, as the article tends to show, that religion was an important aspect of daily life during the time when the Constitution was being argued and finally ratified. It is clear, however, as Isaacson states (63) that no one in the Constitutional assembly would ever use religion as a means of dividing the nation- something that is obviously occurring today. Jefferson, as president, even stipulated that there be no effort to create a "state religion".

Lind, M.: "Rooseveltian Lessons for the 21st Century" The New Leader, Nov. 30, 1998, v 81, I 13, p. 8

The crisis in today's global economy leads Lind to suggest (8) that a return to the Rooseveltian economic theories might solve some of today's problems. The New Deal's theory, according to Lind, was a balance between laissez-faire capitalism and socialism. Of course, the very term "socialism" is anathema to the conservative Republicans now in power in Washington. There is no doubt that the Democrats during FDR'...

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