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Under God: George Washington and the Question of Church and State Paperback – October 1, 2009
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Ross and Smith restore George Washington's view of church and state to its proper place in history, which will inevitably change what we think and say in the present. Hint: He and Thomas Jefferson didn't see eye to eye. --Richard Brookhiser, Author, What Would the Founders Do? and Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington
Ross and Smith's study of Washington illuminates the question of church and state in America in remarkable ways. They have written a truly enlightening and thought-provoking book. --William Kristol, Editor, The Weekly Standard
Under God examines a subject that has long deserved careful attention. This book is a must-read for every patriotic citizen. --Edwin Meese, Former US Attorney General
From the Inside Flap
No American living in 1800 would have predicted that Thomas Jefferson?s idiosyncratic views on church and state would ever eclipse those of George Washington?let alone become constitutional dogma. Yet today?s Supreme Court guards no doctrine more fiercely than Jefferson?s antagonistic ?wall of separation? between church and state. Washington?s sharply contrasting views, explored in a path-breaking new book, suggest a more reasonable interpretation of the First Amendment, one that is consistent with religion?s importance to the enterprise of democracy.The most admired man of his age, Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention and was president when religious freedom was enshrined in the Bill of Rights. His claim to constitutional authority is considerably more impressive than the brilliant?but eccentric?Jefferson?s. Washington considered religion essential for the virtue required of self-governing citizens. Though careful not to favor particular sects, he believed that a democracy must not merely accommodate religion but encourage it.Ross and Smith combine a study of Washington?s thought with a copious appendix containing the full texts of his letters, speeches, and official documents on issues of church and state. They present his views chronologically, devoting a chapter to each stage of his career: young regimental officer, colonial legislator, commander in chief of the Continental Army, head of the Constitutional Convention, and president of the United States. An epilogue explains how Jefferson?s separationist perspective achieved its disproportional influence on the modern Supreme Court. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.